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
So far the Democratic agenda includes proposals to expand Medicaid; increase the minimum wage; offer equal pay to women; heighten regulations on predatory lending practices, like payday loans; and add more transparency in the governor’s office.
Hot-button education issues ranging from Common Core to charter schools have some lawmakers pushing to scrap the appointing process and go back to electing the state's super.
Police say the handcuffed man fatally shot himself in the back, but his family isn't buying the story.
Gov. Bobby Jindal offered a budget proposal that suggests new education and health care spending, pay raises for state workers and an incentive fund to encourage colleges to enhance their science, engineering and technology training.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, March 11, 2014:
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.