The Advocate - I-49 advocates ask for funds
I went into the surplus in one of yesterday's posts. As I noted there, the people behind TIMED are looking at the possibility of tapping into an expected $865 million state surplus next year. Well, they'd better do it soon, because another group is proposing using some of it to work on the southern I-49 extension (a.k.a. That Highway That Should Be Designated Interstate Six!).
The I-49 South Coalition, dormant for years, is poised not only to lobby for some of the state surplus, but also to try to get some place in next year's federal transportation bill. Even then it'd be a drop in the bucket; several billion is still needed to bring the route (currently designated as US 90) up to Interstate standards, including about $700 million for an elevated connector through Lafayette itself and upwards of $4 billion possibly needed for the section between Bayou Lafourche and New Orleans.
According to them, however, drops in the bucket can help. $25 million could build an overpass, they say, and that's about what they say they're looking for - enough for one or more overpasses. (Memo to them... interchanges help too!)
...This seems oddly familiar... ah, well. I guess the chance to get ahold of some piece of nearly a billion dollars will attract everyone, especially in an economic downturn.
Just expect more of these as next year rapidly approaches... and expect them to spend like there's going to be another surplus. Which there probably won't...