Baton Rouge, La. (September 13, 2017) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today announced its board’s support for the Better Transportation and Roads (BTR) plan, a $445 million proposal aimed at improving infrastructure and mobility in East Baton Rouge parish. The East Baton Rouge Metro Council will meet this evening to decide whether to place the initiative on the November ballot for parish voter approval.
“BRAC has conducted careful due diligence on this plan, and we believe that it will contribute significant benefit not only to the quality of life of the parish, but also toward the number-one challenge facing its residents: traffic,” said BRAC President and CEO Adam Knapp. “Tonight represents a big first step, and we hope members of the Metro Council will simply provide the voters in their districts a chance to decide.”
According to an analysis recently conducted by the Capital Region Planning Commission (CRPC), the impact of the projects included in BTR, once completed, would result in a reduction of 1.235 million annual vehicle hours of delay for motorists in East Baton Rouge parish. By comparison, that’s more than twice the estimated congestion relief that would result from widening I-10 from the bridge to the split, and a comparable amount of congestion relief that would result from a new Mississippi River bridge crossing, according to a similar analysis of megaprojects conducted by CRPC in 2015.
In announcing its support of the BTR plan, BRAC also pointed positively to the following factors and desired outcomes:
- That the proposed advanced traffic management system with traffic light synchronization would add tremendous congestion relief and project planning value, in keeping with recommendations from a past IBM Smarter Cities Challenge report;
- That all the capacity and enhancement projects will contribute to the parish’s quality of place efforts, with an emphasis on human-scale solutions, connectivity and walkability;
- That the allocation toward regional projects would be implemented using data-driven metrics establishing greatest outcome for the dollar.
If placed on the November ballot by the Metro Council, the proposal for East Baton Rouge parish voters would levy a 5-mill property tax and rededicate an existing half-cent sales tax to fund the construction of more than 20 transportation capacity projects, more than half a dozen corridor improvement projects, numerous community enhancement projects, create an advanced traffic management system with traffic light synchronization to address slowdowns on existing roads, and allocate matching funds toward a major regional transportation project. If passed, a homeowner with a $200,000 home would pay just over $5 per month to support a total of $445 million of infrastructure improvements.
About the Baton Rouge Area Chamber
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) leads economic development in the nine-parish Baton Rouge Area, working to grow jobs and wealth and to improve the business climate and competitiveness in the region. Today, BRAC investors include more than 1,500 small businesses, mid-sized firms, large industry and entrepreneurial startups, as well as individuals and organizations that support business and economic development. In this capacity, BRAC serves as the voice of the business community, providing knowledge, access, services and advocacy. More information is available at brac.org.