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1A releases Transportation Infrastructure Funding Guiding Principles

LAFAYETTE – Ahead of tomorrow’s regional meeting of the Governor’s Task Force on Transportation Infrastructure Investment, One Acadiana (1A) released a set of high-level recommendations for a statewide transportation funding solution.

1A’s first two guiding principles call for the State to maximize existing transportation funding levels and to find funding for transportation in other State budgetary categories. Contingent upon these two principles, the third principle calls for a substantial revenue increase under certain conditions.

The guiding principles were developed through multiple rounds of review by 1A’s Transportation Infrastructure Committee and Executive Committee and were adopted by the Board of Directors. They can be found on the organization’s website by following this link: oneacadiana.org/guiding-principles.

One Acadiana has emphasized that completing I-49 South, including the I-49 Lafayette Connector, should be the top priority of any infrastructure investment program. A poll run by the organization earlier this year showed more than four in five likely voters in Lafayette Parish support completing the I-49 Lafayette Connector as important or very important to the future of Lafayette Parish.

Funding the $3 billion needed to complete I-49 South from Lafayette to New Orleans would likely require substantial new resources. Prior to raising new revenues, however, 1A’s principles stress that the State should maximize all existing funds. Governor Edwards and the Legislature have already taken steps in this direction by ending the practice of diverting money from the Transportation Trust Fund to State Police and by dedicating a greater percentage of capital outlay cash capacity to roads and bridges.

“It’s clear the Acadiana business community will support a transportation funding solution if it’s structured in the right way,” 1A President & CEO Jason El Koubi said. “One Acadiana will continue to work with the Governor’s Task Force and our State Legislators on an approach in line with the guiding principles we’ve developed.”

“We urge the State to fund, over time, a 21st century transportation system through a combination of sources – maximizing current transportation funding, identifying funding in other budgetary categories, and adopting new revenue sources,” said Doug Place, CAO of Dupré Logistics and co-chair of 1A’s Transportation Infrastructure Committee. “Completing I-49 South should be the State's highest priority.”

The Governor’s Task Force co-chairs, DOTD Sec. Shawn Wilson and Maj. Gen. John Basilica, will attend tomorrow’s meeting, along with other representatives of the 18-member panel. They will hear from Acadiana public officials, business leaders, and other stakeholders about regional transportation needs and priorities.

Governor John Bel Edwards appointed the task force in June to research, identify, and make specific actionable recommendations on reducing Louisiana’s $12.7 billion transportation backlog and funding the construction of new “megaprojects” in the Statewide Transportation Plan, such as the I-49 Lafayette Connector. The panel is due to submit their recommendations to the Governor by Jan. 1, 2017.

Tomorrow’s meeting, hosted by the Acadiana Planning Commission, One Acadiana, and LEDA, will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the LITE Center, located at 537 Cajundome Blvd.

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