Capital Region legislative delegation urged to unite to secure top transportation priority
Baton Rouge, LA (March 30, 2022) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today released a public policy commentary underscoring the importance of protecting the $500M allocation in Governor Edwards’ budget proposal for a new Mississippi River bridge in the Capital Region. The full commentary is available at brac.org/research.
“After nearly a decade of analysis, planning, and consensus-building, the reality of a new and desperately needed Mississippi River bridge can finally be discussed in the near-term,” said Adam Knapp, president and CEO of BRAC. “The project timeline has shovels in the ground within three years, a timeline that is made much stronger by the $500M down payment proposed in the state’s budget. The time is now for leadership at every level to finally deliver on something that has been an obvious need for any traveler through the Baton Rouge corridor in the past 20 years.”
The commentary provides data supporting the current reality of traffic congestion in the Capital Region, the collective progress over the past decade in prioritizing and funding needed infrastructure improvements, an expected timeline for the development and construction of a new bridge, and a call to reason and opportunity in protecting the $500M allocation toward the project as a statewide priority.
Key points from the commentary include:
- Baton Rouge has the fourth worst traffic in the US; this project is an urgent statewide crisis.
- Capital Region unity and consensus have brought real progress on infrastructure; more needed now.
- New MS River bridge and connectors can start design/construction within three years.
- Upfront funds as down-payment are necessary to find financing partners next year.
- Final bridge locations will be selected by this summer.
- 2018 online survey showed 70% support for toll financing to help pay for a new MS River bridge.
A 2016 study conducted by the CRISIS coalition, the Baton Rouge Area regional business-led coalition for transportation improvements, named a new crossing for the Mississippi River as the highest benefit (most congestion relief) project of any studied, saving up to 1.4 million total vehicle hours annually depending on the location.
About the Baton Rouge Area Chamber
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) is an aggressively ambitious regional economic development organization with a bias for action. BRAC seeks to push Baton Rouge beyond the status quo, unleash its potential, and support a vibrant business community that believes the finish line does not exist. BRAC seeks to accelerate economic opportunity in the Baton Rouge Area, for everyone, through BRING IT! Baton Rouge, its five-year, regional strategic plan. Learn more about BRAC at brac.org.