The completion of I-49 South largely hinges on finding a funding mechanism for the development of an elevated connection above the Evangeline Thruway.
The problem, which is not new, was the focus of Tuesday morning’s joint meeting between the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce’s Energy and Public Policy divisions.
Lafayette Chamber Vice President Bruce Conque says this morning’s joint meeting featured Henri Boulet, executive director of the Louisiana 1 Coalition.
La. 1 runs through Lafourche Parish, and in some areas, the roadway lies below sea level, says Conque.
“The existing roadway near Port Fourchon gets inundated with water every time there’s a major storm, so they’re building an elevated highway from the port to Golden Meadow, and it’s been somewhat successful,” Conque tells IND Monthly. “One segment is already done and they’re proceeding on the rest.”
Conque says Boulet provided expertise this morning on his experiences bringing together private and public revenue streams to make the La. 1 elevation a reality.
Translating the La. 1 Coalition’s success here may prove difficult, but elevating I-49 along the current stretch of Evangeline Thruway is at the forefront of the Lafayette Chamber’s agenda going forward, Conque says.
La. 1 — as would be the case for the I-49 elevation through Lafayette — is a toll way. But, Conque says with cost estimations between $900 million and $1 billion, more funding sources must be identified to pay for the elevation of the existing Evangeline Thruway.
“Studies show the toll will not pay for connector,” Conque says. “Right now we have to come up with ideas.”
For years, Lafayette’s chamber has led the push to finish I-49 South, but Conque says support has grown, adding two other “initiatives” also will be “major players” going forward, including the Acadiana Regional Alliance and the Super Regional Alliance.
Next Tuesday, Conque says the Regional Alliance will meet with state Sen. Bret Allain, R-Franklin, at the Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce, to further discuss the interstate’s completion.
“Bret Allain has made it his personal mission to see the construction of I-49 South, but we need more than just a political approach, we’ll need stakeholders — the companies that are serviced by I-49 to get behind this as well,” says Conque. “Certainly the chamber can provide the leadership, but we can’t do this alone.”
MAY 23 Here's a story in the Picayune about some statistics that must come as a blow to folks who believe that any private school can do a better job of educating kids than any public school: Danielle Dreilinger reports that only 30 percent of the voucher kids are passing. That's less than half of the state wide average, she says. It's an interesting statistic because most of the schools (if not all) taking voucher kids have never had their students' standardized test scores released to the public before.
MAY 23 Stephen Sabludowsky blogs on Bayou Buzz about auditor requests here. Recently the state GOP started crowing about a request from the Legislative Auditor, claiming they were being targeted because of their anti-tax stance. (Uh, your what?) Denial and hyperbole aside, the state Democratic party blew holes in that theory with an email announcing they'd received the same request, Sabludowsky writes here.
MAY 23 Jim Brown blogs about the senate race in this post. He says that, given Bobby Jindal's "lack of traction" on the national stage, it might make more sense for the governor to consider running against Mary Landrieu for the senate seat. Since Tim Teeple left the Cassidy team, it makes sense he might land on a Jindal for Senate team, Brown opines.
MAY 23 In this Louisiana Voice post, blogger Tom Aswell writes of rumors that his nemesis, state Superintendent of Education John White, may be soon departing Louisiana for a federal post. It's hard to believe, given his performance, Aswell says, but stranger things have happened. An anti-White BESE member says that, if true, White is quitting before he can be fired.
MAY 23 In this post on American Zombie, blogger Jason Berry writes about the Mother's Day shooting. Mayor Landrieu said that "this is not who we are," but the fact is, this is New Orleans, Berry writes. The violence infused in the city is the result of a culture created by "sins of omission or sins of commission," Berry writes. It's not a problem that can be solved by legislating, policing, praying or publicizing, he says: Someone's got to understand what's happening first.
MAY 23 This post in the Westside Journal tells us what Port Allen Mayor Deedy has been up to lately: vetoing ordinances, apparently. This story is most interesting, however, when it delves into a petition that has been circulating around the city lately. It accuses the former mayor of a lot of nasty things; the former mayor says it is full of lies and "broken syntax" which may be a larger offense in his eyes.
MAY 23 This editorial posted in The Advocate is a bit confusing. The writing is poor - definitely not up to the usual editorial writing standard there - and the point is hard to grasp. Apparently, the writer is saying that privatization of state efforts is OK, as long as there is oversight and transparency, but Jindal's not good at that, and the legislature shouldn't over-react. Okey Dokey. Can't they get one of them Pulitzer-winning people to write an editorial?
MAY 23 This post on The Lens gives you links to a new Google Earth tool that allows you to see any spot on earth transform over the past 30 years. Bob Marshall, who covers the coast for the paper, says that in the case of Louisiana's coastline, it's possibly something you don't want to see, because it's not a pretty picture. There are several clips here, showing critical areas erode away. For Marshall, it was vindication for all those times he was met with eye-rolling when he talked about erosion.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.