A group of local community and business leaders is urging Louisiana gubernatorial and legislative candidates to make addressing the crumbling and overcrowded roadways their top priority.
CRISIS, or the Capital Region Industry for Sustainable Infrastructure Solutions, issued its fall election platform today, which includes five priorities for addressing regional transportation problems. The platform urges candidates to work together to create a regional mobility plan, support projects that give people alternative routes when traversing Baton Rouge, push to fix the Interstate 10 congestion near the Mississippi River bridge, deliver an additional major alternative route through the region and find funding for the regional mobility plan.
CRISIS was created by a coalition, formed earlier this year, that includes the Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance, Baton Rouge Area Chamber and Center for Planning Excellence.
The group pointed to studies that show the Baton Rouge area ranks third in the country for worst traffic congestion, 11th worst for road conditions and that Baton Rouge commuters spend more than 45 hours a year stuck in traffic.
“These problems did not spring up overnight, and it is unrealistic to think that they will be solved overnight,” the group says. “But whether it’s a small business owner considering opening a new location, a large business developing growth strategies, or a young family worried about the quality of life in their neighborhood—people are clamoring, at the very least, for action that will lead to clear solution, and a comprehensive plan with a workable implementation strategy.”
Further compounding the need for a workable plan, the group says, is the $12 billion backlog of road and bridge maintenance projects throughout the state, including $3.3 billion in Baton Rouge projects.
The release comes the same day as the first of three open house meetings by the state Department of Transportation and Development on the proposed Interstate 10 corridor renovations. Tonight’s meeting will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Baton Rouge River Center. Subsequent meetings will take place on Tuesday at the West Baton Rouge Community Center in Port Allen from 6 to 8 p.m., and on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Baton Rouge. DOTD says the same information will be presented at each meeting so people only need to attend once.