BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB)
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) on Tuesday announced its Board of Directors has voted to support MoveBR, a dedicated half-cent sales tax in East Baton Rouge Parish for transportation infrastructure. The proposition will be on the ballot on December 8, 2018.
“Our Board of Directors has taken the position to support MoveBR to reduce traffic, it’s as simple as that,” said Ric Kearny, chairman of BRAC’s Board of Directors. “Transportation infrastructure and workforce mobility are the keys to our region’s continued economic growth. Major investment in our clogged streets and highways will allow greater levels of commerce, and greatly increase our area’s quality of life.”
MoveBR proposes a half-cent sales tax to fund a transportation infrastructure project list of $805 million in new investment in over 60 projects in East Baton Rouge Parish.
BRAC’s position of support was informed by the following analysis:
- The dedicated nature of the proposed tax means that the funds may only be used for the identified projects.
- The project list is set and can’t be altered without an additional vote of the people to change the project list.
- The improvements include community enhancements such as new sidewalks, bike lanes, and drainage enhancements, greatly impacting quality of life.
- The traffic reduction brought by the plan will be especially meaningful in allowing for faster emergency response.
- The projects come from objectively-determined criteria and have been independently analyzed by organizations such as the Capital Region Planning Commission (the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization) for their impact on traffic congestion reduction.
- The widening of LA-30/Nicholson has been included to prepare for a new South Bridge over the Mississippi River, a critical future mega-project for the region.
- The benefits of MoveBR do not stop at the parish line. Many of the arteries in the plan are those that are critical regional non-interstate corridors, such as Airline, Nicholson/LA-30, Pecue, Florida, Hooper, and others.
- The project list includes full parish-wide traffic light synchronization and a new traffic management center to coordinate flow.
For the average household, MoveBR is estimated to cost less than $85 per year and save $255 per year, primarily due to relief of nearly 4.6 million annual hours of traffic congestion, according to modeling and analysis by the Capital Region Planning Commission. An additional benefit will come in the form of fuel savings, which are projected to number over one million gallons annually.
“Business leaders regularly and consistently cite traffic as their primary barrier to business and growth here in the Capital Region,” said Adam Knapp, president and CEO of BRAC. “Not only will the increased capacity brought by MoveBR cut that barrier, it will create additional economic impacts of its own through the 3,000 estimated jobs created by the projects and the value of the time saved from both people and goods sitting in traffic.”