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Community Foundation of Acadiana commissions economic impact analysis of completing I-49 South

(Lafayette, La.)— Community Foundation of Acadiana (CFA) has commissioned an economic impact analysis to assess the benefits of completing I-49 South. The initiative has received cooperative support from the Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA), One Acadiana, Acadiana Economic Development Council, Port of Iberia, I-49 South Coalition, St. Martin Economic Development, St. Mary Economic Development and private citizens. In addition, CFA has received expert guidance from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

The timing of the study coincides with the Context Sensitive Solutions community planning process for the I-49 Lafayette Connector and with recommendations for increasing transportation funding being developed by the Governor’s Task Force on Transportation Infrastructure Investment.

The study will measure the economic outcomes for the completion of the I-49 Lafayette Connector and of I-49 South as a whole from Lafayette to New Orleans, using indicators including, but not limited to: population, employment, gross regional product, disposable personal income, output (in terms of sales or supply), labor productivity, travel time savings and reductions in emissions.

Results will be presented at three levels: the local impacts for Lafayette Parish, the regional impacts for the eight-parish CFA region and the statewide impacts for Louisiana. The eight-parish CFA region includes Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary and Vermilion.

Following an objective RFQ/RFP and vendor selection process, a steering committee of project partners selected Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI) to perform the study. REMI is partnering with CDM Smith, the lead firm on the Louisiana Statewide Transportation Plan.

“As the public debates the planning and design of the Lafayette Connector, there is 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 vice-chair and former Louisiana transportation secretary.

“The completion of I-49 South is within reach”, said One Acadiana President and CEO Jason El Koubi. “More than 100 of the planned 160 miles of I-49 South are complete or under construction. This study will provide objective data on the jobs, income, travel time savings and other benefits of finally realizing a fully functional interstate along ‘America’s Energy Corridor’.”

“Infrastructure is vital to maintain connectivity within the region— particularly for our energy, transportation, distribution and tourism sectors”, said Gregg Gothreaux, president and CEO of LEDA. “If our region wishes to remain a leader in the south, there is a substantial need to improve our public infrastructure including I-49. I-49 South will provide economic development and commerce opportunities, in addition to addressing public safety with hurricane evacuation routes and alternate routes and traffic relief for I-10.”

An initial draft report is expected by the end of 2016, but consultants might need to adjust some figures in early 2017, depending on when a final design for the Lafayette Connector is determined.

For more information on the study, please contact CFA President & CEO Raymond J. Hébert at 337.769.4848.

Community Foundation of Acadiana’s (CFA) core purpose is to connect all generous people to the causes they care about. CFA is south Louisiana’s premier philanthropic organization benefiting our region, with a particular focus on the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Mary, St. Martin and Vermilion. CFA has realized cumulative gifts exceeding $170 million and has made cumulative grants of over $86 million. Learn more at www.cfacadiana.org.

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