House Committee Abolishes Bill to Change Bridge, Funding I-49 | New


BATON ROUGE, Louisiana – The bill to redirect funding for the I-49 North Inter-City Connector project toward building new lanes for the Jimmie Davis Bridge failed to gain support from lawmakers on Monday.

The House Appropriations Committee voted 11-5 against Bill 645 drafted by State Representative Cedric Glover (D-Shreveport).

The legislature has already allocated $ 100 million to extend Interstate 49 via Shreveport through the Deepwater Horizon dispute resolution fund. Glover wanted to take that money and put it towards the Jimmie Davis Bridge instead, saying it was more of a plug-and-play project.

Glover said the bridge was of “great importance” to residents of southeastern Shreveport and southwestern Bossier. And he said you only need to look under the decades-old bridge to see concrete and other sub-surfaces falling.

Glover also read a letter from Bossier City mayor-elect Tommy Chandler, who also supports the funding change.

State Representative Jack McFarland (R-Winnfield) asked if Deepwater Horizon’s settlement funds were already over-committed. The state’s deputy transport secretary, Eric Kalivoda, has been asked to consider how the money should be allocated.

Kalivoda said the fund has 10 earmarked projects, with just over $ 53 million to be received each year for 13 years. The first product is allocated to phase 2 of the national road 1 improvement project between Golden Meadow and Leeville. The rest of the projects will be funded at later dates as they are not far into the development phase, Kalivoda said.

But neither the Jimmie Davis Bridge nor the Intercity Connector is ready for the application process. Both are still in the environmental phase, Kalivoda said.

Still, the Jimmie Davis Bridge has the smallest funding gap since the construction of two new lanes is estimated at $ 110 million, while around $ 700 million is needed to complete the I-49 stretch through the city.

In an email released Monday morning, Caddo Parish Commissioner Roy Burrell, also a former lawmaker, voiced his opposition to Glover’s bill, saying, “Please don’t let one politician’s lack of vision derail the (growth) of our declining urban population. and growth. ”

Burrell has attached photos of a recent 18-wheeler crash on the Cross Lake Bridge that put traffic on hold for hours. He said the truck could have easily transported toxic chemicals and polluted the water supply.

Another reason to consider sticking with I-49 will be the traffic demand from the Amazon fulfillment center under construction, which is expected to generate thousands of jobs and direct and indirect services, and the need for easy access to services. highways.

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