Days after voters approved Lafayette Utilities System's plan to build a fiber optics network to every home and business in the city, local proponents of the project see several more hurdles on the horizon.
"There's still a whole lot of work to do," says City-Parish Councilman Marc Mouton. "Having never done this before, we're going to proceed cautiously but also with the mandate that this council has from the electorate."
The utility still estimates it is at least two years away from beginning to offer phone, cable and high-speed Internet services to homes over the fiber network.
Directly ahead for LUS is ironing out financing rules with the Public Service Commission ' rules that could affect LUS' bond rating and make LUS alter its initial business plan. The PSC could meet as soon as this Friday, July 22, to address the issue.
Incumbent telecommunications providers BellSouth and Cox Communications, who fought to have the issue defeated at the polls, have lobbied the PSC to not allow LUS to pledge its utilities assets for the project's bonds and to apply strict rules to LUS price rates. (Bellsouth Regional Manager John Williams did not return a phone call by press time.)
Mouton says he hopes the public's recent show of support at the polls will help clear the opposition. "I would hope that [BellSouth and Cox] would work with us in seeing that the will of the people is implemented. They were out to fight to protect their interest, and I can applaud that. The ball is in their court now for how they want to respond."
Last Saturday's election ended with 62 percent of city voters approving the $125 million bond issue. The final tally was 12,290 votes in favor of the project, with 7,507 in opposition. ' NS
HOUSE AUTHORIZES $1.13 BILLION FOR COASTAL LOUISIANA
Louisiana coastal restoration scored a major coup last week when the U.S. House passed its version of the 2005 Water Resources Development Act. The $10 billion omnibus bill authorizes hundreds of navigation, flood, and environmental improvement projects, including $1.13 billion for Louisiana coastal restoration.
The biennial WRDA legislation is administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is the federal government's largest environmental spending bill. The last time the bill was passed was in 2000, making this year's bill three years overdue. In the past, it has funneled billions of dollars into major projects for Chesapeake Bay and the Florida Everglades. The funds included in the bill for Louisiana's coast will go to projects designated by the state and the Army Corps of Engineers in the Louisiana Coastal Area study, which can be viewed at www.lca.gov.
The LCA represents the largest coastal restoration project in American history. Before going into affect,Â WRDA still must pass the Senate, which is yet to schedule a vote on the bill into its tightly packed agenda. ' NS
A new building, new computers ' all the UL Lafayette library lacked was a commemorative image of the woman who was the driving force behind its inception. Dr. Charles Triche, director of the Edith Garland Dupre library, has announced that the board has chosen artist Janine Collins to paint the nearly life-size portrait of Dupre that will hang in the main entrance. Collins' portrait of Herbert and Maurice Heymann hangs in the Petroleum Club, and a likeness of LSU School of Business namesake, E.J. Orso, was also done by the Lafayette painter. ' MT
An abortion rights organization has filed the first court challenge to a Louisiana law that would require doctors who perform abortions to be able to admit patients to a nearby hospital.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister started his sign-up for re-election Friday the same as any other candidate, filling out paperwork and handing over cash to pay his qualifying fee. But he finished it quite differently, doused with ice.
The recent release of Victor White III’s autopsy report could spell trouble, as it tells a much different story of his death than the one told five months ago by the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office.
“Candidates for Congress and members of Congress spend between 30 and 70 percent of their time raising money to get back to Congress or to get their party back into power.”
Over the last four days of the trial against attorney Daniel Stanford, there’s been one notable absence from Judge Elizabeth Foote’s courtroom: attorney Bill Goode.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees and wide receiver Nick Toon are not on the same page yet, and time is running short for Toon to get it right.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister started his sign-up for re-election the same as other candidates, filling out paperwork and handing over qualifying money. But he finished it like no other, doused with ice.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Jell-o sales plummet; Hamas kills suspected informers; bodies arrive in Malaysia and more national and international news for Friday, August 22, 2014.
That’s what Lafayette Parish has obtained in Pentagon surplus since 2006.
Qualifying continues through Friday.
The political tilt of the Senate during President Barack Obama's final two years in office is likely to hinge on a handful of female contenders in tight and costly races.
A former BP executive will be allowed to travel to the United Kingdom later this month while he awaits trial on charges relating to an investigation of the 2010 Gulf oil spill.
Friends and family will celebrate Spider's life in September.
Saints safety Jairus Byrd has rarely been so eager to hit and be hit, if only to reassure himself that his surgically repaired back is as healed as doctors believe.
Jindal privatized nearly all the LSU hospitals without waiting for federal officials to sign off on financing arrangements that rely on millions of federal Medicaid dollars.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and her main Republican challenger, Congressman Bill Cassidy, verbally sparred as they officially signed up on the opening day of qualifying for Louisiana's November election.
Superintendent tells crowd he'd just emerged from a four-hour meeting with the attorney hired to investigate him.
The start of the three-day qualifying period for November’s elections has so far yielded 10 official bids and one new announcement from candidates seeking a seat on the school board.
It’s been just over four months since attorney Barry Domingue committed suicide the morning before he was to stand trial for a second day in the federal Curious Goods case, leaving his fellow attorney/co-defendant Daniel Stanford with a temporary mistrial and awaiting his day in court.
Candidates for Louisiana's Nov. 4 election must officially sign up for the ballot this week.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's effort to derail Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards was halted Tuesday by a state judge who said the governor's actions were harmful to parents, teachers and students.
New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram isn't letting a humbling start to his pro career lower his opinion of what he can still accomplish in the NFL.
Visualize Lafayette’s next great thing from 3,000 feet.
A Baton Rouge judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday against enforcing a law that prohibits anyone 70 or older from running for justice of the peace or constable.