Yesterday, I-49 South Coalition board members met with State Treasurer John Schroder to advocate for capitalizing on the Louisiana State Transportation Infrastructure Bank (the Bank) to complete critical infrastructure projects like I-49 South. The Bank was established within the Department of the Treasury in 2015, with the purpose of selecting and assisting in financing eligible transportation projects by providing low-interest loans and other financial assistance to municipalities, parishes, and other public entities. Later that year, Louisiana voters approved a Constitutional Amendment allowing the State Treasurer to invest existing state funds into the Bank. Read more on the Bank here…
“The Interstate 49 Lafayette Connector executive committee agreed Friday to advance four options for more detailed evaluation.
The committee considered feedback from technical and community meetings and discussed new alternatives, including moving the southbound exit ramp from Willow Street closer to downtown and whether the existing Evangeline Thruway should be reborn as a grand boulevard or a one-way “couplet” like it is today.
Those are some of the options designers and engineers will be studying further.”
BATON ROUGE – Completing I-49 South is Acadiana’s top priority, and the I-49 South Coalition continues to advocate for this game-changing investment for Louisiana. The Louisiana State Legislature echoed its support for this priority by proclaiming May 15, 2017 to be I-49 South Day at the State Capitol.
As part of National Infrastructure Week, the I-49 South Coalition organized I-49 South Day to recognize and encourage leadership at all levels of government to address Louisiana’s pressing infrastructure investment needs, including the completion of I-49 South.
“We are thrilled to be at the Capitol to discuss the importance of I-49 South with elected officials during National Infrastructure Week,” said I-49 South Coalition Chairman David Mann. “It is time to complete this decades-long initiative so that future generations can benefit from this significant future asset.”
Representative Mike Huval, District 46, authored the proclamation recognizing May 15 as I-49 South Day. “Completing I-49 South is critical to the State of Louisiana and the entire country. I am proud to help communicate the importance of this project.”
The I-49 South Coalition met with Louisiana DOTD representatives to discuss progress being made along the corridor. The group shared information with State legislators about the substantial benefits of bringing U.S. 90 up to interstate standards, such as improving safety and commerce, providing traffic congestion relief and evacuation capacity, and stimulating economic development opportunities. More than 100 of the planned 160 miles of I-49 South are complete or currently under construction.
Coalition members also highlighted the findings of a recent economic impact analysis, commissioned by the Community Foundation of Acadiana (CFA), that assesses the benefits of completing the I-49 Lafayette Connector and the extension of I-49 South from Lafayette to New Orleans. The study finds that completing the I-49 Lafayette Connector – a 5.5-mile extension of I-49 from I-10 to just south of the Lafayette Regional Airport – demonstrates robust short-term and long-term impacts on jobs and economic growth. Completing both the Lafayette Connector and other segments of I-49 South – to connect with I-310 southwest of New Orleans – would yield even stronger impacts and growth. The study received cooperative support from a number of partners, including the I-49 South Coalition.
Infrastructure Week is a national advocacy and educational event taking place from May 15-19, 2017. Across the country, businesses, labor organizations, elected officials, and more have joined together to encourage citizens and policymakers to continue investing in infrastructure and transportation at the federal, state, and local level.
Community Foundation of Acadiana contracted two firms to spearhead a study to show I-49 south’s impact from 2016 to 2044.
They found the Lafayette connector could save drivers an estimated 5 and a half million hours on the road.
“You can connect between different areas of the state quicker and in shorter times and in a safer manner and with less damage to your vehicle.” said Eric McClellan of CDM Smith.
It could also generate more than six thousand jobs statewide.
“As the public debates the planning and design of the Lafayette Connector, there was a need for a rigorous, credible, unbiased economic analysis, which demonstrates the economic benefits that would result from completing this critical project,” said Kam Movassaghi, CFA Chairman and former Louisiana transportation secretary.
Date: September 28
Time: 10 a.m. – 12: p.m.
Location: LITE CENTER – 537 Cajundome Blvd