Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome picked up some welcome support on Friday for her $912 million tax proposal to ease traffic woes in East Baton Rouge Parish through a massive upgrade of the parish's transportation network.
Mayors in Baker, Central and Zachary all said they're backing the mayor-president's 30-year, half-cent sales tax plan. The mayors of the three cities say they agree with Broome's assessment that it's the only way to address traffic issues crippling the parish's potential for economic growth and limiting the ability of their cities to progress.
"I'm not a big tax guy (but) we have to pass this tax," said Zachary Mayor David Amrhein. "We can't continue to kick the can down the road. We've got to get traffic moving."
Baker Mayor Darnell Waites and Central mayor Jr Shelton each took a similar stance during a press conference Broome held Friday morning to re-emphasize the merits of her tax proposal, known as MovEBR, ahead of its appearance on the Dec. 8 ballot.
The proposed sales tax would raise about twice as much revenue than a previous property tax Broome tried to implement but couldn't get past the Metro Council for approval.
While Tuesday's election was in full swing, Sharon Weston Broome set her sights on Dec. 8.
The ambitious list of projects slated on the MovEBR plan includes improvements to Airline Highway, widening roads around Central, synchronize traffic signals and building a new Interstate 10 exchange with a widened Pecue Lane.
Waites called the list of projects "a great vision" since it'll address several problems spots in his city as well. And Shelton claimed his citizens have been very vocal about their desire for the infrastructure improvements slated in his city.
"We can continue to shut down taxes that can help us prosper or we can do something about fixing traffic," Shelton said. "It's important for us to finally get something done."
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber has already come out in support of MovEBR too.
A full list of projects and a map is available at movebr.net.