Mayor President Kip Holden isn’t done reminding people about his conversation with President Obama about Baton Rouge traffic.
Holden, who is in Washington D.C. for the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors, issued a press release on Friday afternoon about another executive-level conversation he had about Baton Rouge infrastructure — this time with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
The press release states that Holden met “privately” with Foxx to discuss “traffic initiatives for the Capital Region, including the widening of (interstate) 1-10 which he spoke with President Obama about during his recent visit to Baton Rouge.”
“We talked again about the congestion created by the interstate narrowing to one lane as traffic comes across the Mississippi River Bridge,” Holden said in the press release. “And the Secretary assured me he is looking into ways to help us particularly solve this problem.”
He said they also discussed other grant opportunities related to traffic projects, such as “a new Mississippi River Bridge crossing, gap funding for the Pecue Lane Interchange at I-10 and the Baton Rouge Streetcar project” which would run between downtown and LSU on Nicholson Drive.
Earlier this month, when Obama visited Baton Rouge, he rode from the airport with both newly elected Gov. John Bel Edwards and Holden.
After the visit, Edwards told a room of hundreds of business people at the annual Louisiana Association of Business and Industry luncheon, that he put a bug in the president’s ear about the bottlenecking on Interstate 10.
“He didn’t know that before, and had I not taken advantage of the opportunity, he wouldn’t have known it today,” Edwards said of the conversation.
Holden then approached media to inform them it was he who actually told Obama about the interstate problems and he didn’t know why Edwards took credit.
Holden said Obama backed his version when, during his visit to McKinley High School, he credited him with calling his attention to the issue.
Obama said, “I know that your mayor was talking about how the interstate here narrows, and we may need to do something about it to relieve some traffic.”
Both Edwards and Holden, who leaves office at the end of this year, are Democrats. Edwards has said he stands by his comments.