Gov. John Bel Edwards plans to announce a $600 million transportation plan Friday, including widening Interstate 10 from the Mississippi River bridge to the I-10/12 split.
The outline, which will be spelled out at a press conference, relies largely on federal bonds to finance the work, which would be repaid by the state over 12 years, according to Shawn Wilson, secretary for the state Department of Transportation and Development.
Finding solutions for daily traffic tie-ups on Interstate 10 near the I-10 Mississippi River bridge will be one of the top priorities when Gov…
"This innovative funding mechanism is needed in Louisiana at this time," Edwards said in a statement.
"These projects are of the utmost importance for economic development and for convenience to the traveling public," he said. "The longer we wait, the more they cost and the more we lose."
The effort also includes replacement of the I-10 interchange in Kenner at Loyola Drive to serve the refurbished Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.
New access for Barksdale U.S. Air Force Base in Bossier City and, if needed, dollars for the new Belle Chasse tunnel are also in the package.
"This will create a better quality of life for citizens, a better experience for visitors and a stronger economy for Louisiana by re-developing our current infrastructure to meet the needs of business and the traveling public," Wilson said in a statement.
Wilson said Friday that, while a federal review is involved for the plan to happen, he is confident of state approval.
He also said 25 other states have used similar routes for road and bridge building totaling $25 billion.
The I-10 work in Baton Rouge has been discussed for years.
Six months after the first round, state transportation leaders Monday night launched a new series of public hearings focusing on widening Inte…
It would cost at least $350 million.
In the past, heavy opposition from business owners in the Perkins Road Overpass area has helped kill efforts to widen the interstate.
The latest plan is likely to rekindle that criticism.
Baton Rouge area residents got their first chance Monday night to sound off on a state proposal to widen Interstate 10, and some are eager for…
Adam Knapp, president of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, praised the I-10 widening proposal.
"With this announcement, Louisiana makes it clear that it is committed to meeting the infrastructure needs of our growing economy," Knapp said in a statement.
Among those set to be on hand for Edwards 11:30 a.m. press conference are House Transportation Committee Chairman Kenny Havard, R-St. Francisville; Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Page Cortez, R-Lafayette; New Orleans Mayor Mitch Lsndrieu; East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome; Jefferson Parish President Michael Yenni; Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn and Knapp.
The announcement comes at a time when state highway and bridge building has largely been frozen because of a money shortage.
A bid to raise the gas tax by 17 cents per gallon, and raise $510 million per year, died in the Legislature last year.
No major hike in state aid for roads and bridges is expected before 2021 because of legislative rules and political concerns.
The state has a $13 billion backlog of road and bridge plans.
Baton Rouge motorists are among the top complainers about road conditions.
The stretch between the bridge and the I-10/12 split is considered one of the most congested in the Baton Rouge area.
The financing would be done with the use of GARVEE bonds.
GARVEE stands for Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle Bonds.
The plan allows the state to repay the debt with federal highway aid Louisiana gets yearly.
Other support would come local governments, including East Baton Rouge Parish and the City of New Orleans.
"We hear complaints of our crumbling infrastructure and growing congestion all the time," Edwards said.
"With no reliable funding, it's tools like this that will help us accelerate much-needed reconstruction and improvements to our system," he added.
All of the projects are set to win environmental approval this year, with work beginning in 2019.
"Make no mistake, this does not solve our transportation funding problems," Wilson said.
"It simply addresses the iceberg of infrastructure needs," he said.
All four projects have been on the state's to-do list for decades.