Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Traffic flow, walkability, bike lanes, air travel, public transit and more all work together to increase an area’s quality of place and quality of life.
Check out a few of the Capital Region’s most recent transportation updates including everything from new direct flights to bike share.
The Capital Region is even more accessible now thanks to Via Airlines. Over the summer the company launched two nonstop flight services between Baton Rouge Metro Airport and airports in Austin, Texas and Orlando, Florida. Flights to Austin will operate three days a week with flights to Orlando operating on twice a week. The flight additions are a huge win for the Baton Rouge Area, adding much needed destinations for both business and leisure travel. The flights are especially economical too. Via offers one-way flights for just under $100. As the city continues to support flights like these there are more and more opportunities for additional destinations that will put Baton Rouge on the map.
The BR-NOLA Inter-City Rail is an ambitious project that community leaders have been busy working on for several years. The commuter rail designed to connect Baton Rouge with New Orleans and various stops along the way is an incredibly complex undertaking, but one that has had positive progress over the past year. Communities along the proposed route, including Baton Rouge and Gonzales, have hired consultants to design rail stations for the proposed service, and coordination from the state, local and federal levels are better aligned than ever before. While the project recently experienced a slight setback with DOTD’s announcement that it would not pursue a federal grant this year due to a lack of state matching funds, the project will continue to move forward with an eye toward a future grant submission. Once implemented, the commuter rail would advance the efforts of the SoLA super region and provide new economic, leisure, and emergency management opportunities.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration signed a GARVEE Bond Agreement in early September to allow for construction on major infrastructure projects. The Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle Bond will provide up to $650 million for construction on major infrastructure projects throughout the state. The projects include widening I-10 from the Mississippi River Bridge to the I-10/I-12 split, a new interchange on I-10 in Kenner, a new access road from I-20 directly into Barksdale, and new toll bridges. The 12-year bond payments will be expedited and will allow for increased federal investment in rural Louisiana. A potentially transformative complement to the state-funded expansions in the Capital Region is East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome’s MoveBR initiative, a dedicated half-cent sales tax for transportation infrastructure. Residents of EBR will have the opportunity to vote on the initiative on December 8.
After lots of hard work throughout the city-parish, Baton Rouge is one step closer to having a bike share program. Bike sharing is the new, hip way to ride around town. Customers can pick up a bike at one station, ride to their destination, possibly on the other side of town, and park their bike at a station nearby. The city, through the help of a third-party partner, recently selected Gotcha as the company to install and maintain 500 bikes throughout the city. The bikes will be placed at 50 different hubs, including the major hot spots of LSU and Southern. With the bike share program set to launch early next year, Baton Rougeans will soon have yet another way to explore everything the Capital Region has to offer.