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
Is Mary fading as Vitter solidifies his lock on the fourth floor?
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has renegotiated contracts for six LSU hospital privatization deals, hoping to reach a compromise with federal health officials that will keep Medicaid dollars flowing to the privatized patient services.
Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is defending her record on gun rights, seeking to rebut sharp criticism from the NRA in a state where the right to bear arms is given special constitutional protection.
Citizens, you have less than a week to register to vote in the Nov. 4 election. Remember, if you don’t vote you can’t complain about the outcome. Well, you can but it’s kind of hypocritical.
After being forced out by its former landlords last year, the community garden has a new location and a 10-year lease.
The party says it has hit a milestone, reaching 10,000 registered voters in the state.
Defensive captain Junior Galette is disgusted by the Saints' sluggish start.
The use of $60 million in Louisiana's public school financing formula to pay for nearly three dozen charter schools violates the state constitution, a statewide teachers' union claimed Monday in a lawsuit.
Security breach at White House; Bejing won't back down from protesters; pressure on third-graders and more national and international news for Tuesday, September 30, 2014.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
February trial date indicates parties were unable to negotiate a settlement.
Gov. Bobby Jindal has been viewed as a health care policy wonk, and he's tried to build on that image ahead of a likely 2016 presidential campaign, positioning himself as the candidate with substantive ideas.
Jerry Jones watched what he called the best effort he's seen in 25 years as owner of the Dallas Cowboys in the first half, and that was before Tony Romo had the longest scramble of his career and DeMarco Murray finished off yet another 100-yard game.
Two of the most recognizable women in Republican politics, Sarah Palin and Mary Matalin, have been heavily involved in Louisiana’s current election cycle.
Even though the Louisiana Democratic Party has thrown its support behind former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ congressional bid, national Democrats are not expected to follow suit.
“[Mike] is no longer the energetic ADA that his recent ad is trying to portray. I just think Mike needs to get the hell out.” — Kermit Harson, DA Mike Harson’s brother
The New Orleans Saints have listed Jonathan Goodwin as questionable for Sunday night's game in Dallas, raising the prospect that second-year pro Tim Lelito will start at center for the first time.
The endorsements keep coming for District 9 LPSB candidate Jeremy Hidalgo, who picked up his fifth vow of support Thursday, this time from the Chamber’s political action committee.
Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter will be out knocking on doors this weekend with anti-abortion activists encouraging people to vote against his colleague, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
The ACLU of Louisiana has sued Abbeville's mayor and police chief over a policy barring police from any social media use showing the city in a bad light.
Prospective Republican presidential candidates are expected to promote "religious liberty" at home and abroad at a gathering of religious conservatives Friday, with anti-Obama speeches from the likes of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
The American Zombie blog by New Orleans independent journalist Jason Berry has a photograph of U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier having dinner with Lafayette attorney Pat Juneau — yeah, that Pat Juneau, the BP claims administrator whose fate Barbier will soon decide.
But retirees and employees who face the higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs responded angrily, telling lawmakers that they shouldn't be held responsible for what they consider the Jindal administration's mismanagement of the Office of Group Benefits.
Indictment accuses ‘chef’ who claims to work for the needy of stealing from a disabled man in his care.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's top budget adviser says the state employee health insurance program will face a dire financial scenario without the heavily criticized changes planned by the administration.