Candidates for governor and legislative offices should spell out their plans to improve transportation in the State Capital, including congestion on Interstate 10, a coalition of Baton Rouge businesses said Monday morning.
The comments were issued by the Capitol Region Industry for Sustainable Infrastrucuture Solutions, or CRISIS.
The group was organized by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance and the Center for Planning Excellence.
Members include ExonMobil Baton Rouge; Dow Chemical Co., Lamar Advertising, Turner Industries and Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.
CRISIS said its message is simple --”make the Baton Rouge region’s traffic crisis a top priority of your campaign, work cooperatively in support of a comprehensive regional mobility plan and offer serious and specific funding solutions to implement it.”
The views were issued on the same day that the state Department of Transportation and Development begins three public hearings on a plan to add an additional lane in each direction between the I-10 brige and the I-10/12 split.
The proposal, which would cost up to $350 million, is aimed at easing daily traffic backups.
DOTD Secretary Sherri LeBas said she wants public input on the proposal, which she said could be financed in stages.
However, the issue pits thousands of motorists per day who rely on the four-mile corridor against some business leaders in the Perkins Road overpass area and residents around the Washington Street exit, which is one of the chokepoints.
The first gathering is Monday from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. at the Baton Rouge River Center.
CRISIS said while the Baton Rouge region has shown strong economic expansion, business leaders continue to cite traffic congestion as the key obstacle to future growth.
“Employees are leaving jobs because of unreasonable, unsafe and unpredictable commutes, while their productivity in delivering goods and services suffers because of gridlock,” the group said.
CRISIS said the Baton Rouge region ranks third worst in the nation for traffic congestion among mid-sized cities and 11th worst for road conditions.
The group said that, among five election priorities, improving traffic on I-10 betweeen the bridge and the split “should be accelerated for completion in the next four years.”
Candidates should also offer regional mobility plans, alternatives to relying on cars and trucks and alternative routes through the Baton Rouge area.
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