Financial agreement to keep CCC lit set to expire in June - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Financial agreement to keep CCC lit set to expire in June

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

An agreement to keep the Crescent City Connection lit up at night is set to expire at the end of next month. Now, there are questions about who will pay for the lights moving forward.

The DOTD turned off the decorative lights across the top of the CCC in March 2013 after voters scrapped the bridge tolls, which had paid the bills up to that point.

Then, the Regional Planning Commission stepped in and agreed to use CCC transition funds to keep the bridge lit up through June 30.

What happens after that date is now unclear, but State Sen. JP Morrell, D-New Orleans, believes it's the commission's responsibility to keep paying.

"We transmitted a tremendous amount of money to the Regional Planning Commission that was leftover toll money," Morrell said. "My understanding is there's more money going to the Regional Planning Commission related to that situation."

The question over who should pay for the lights has been an ongoing battle.

The non-profit group Young Leadership Council donated the lights in the late 1980s, and the group says at that time the state signed an agreement to pay for operation and maintenance.

However, DOTD officials directed us to the Regional Planning Commission, saying it's now their responsibility.

We tried contacting the commission to find out if the agreement will be renewed, but numerous phone calls and emails throughout the week to RPC Executive Director Walter Brooks haven't been returned, and the group's public information officer didn't know the answer. A commission representative said Brooks is out of town until next week.

Senator JP Morrell says the commission needs to take action.

"Typically when you have a (contractual agreement) like this, you don't wait until the last minute to renew it. You can renew it at any time," he said. "Obviously you have to contract with Entergy for lights and the people that install light bulbs. If you drag out the (contract) process and you wait too long, then you might have a hiccup."

Meanwhile, YLC officials who secured donations to pay for the lights leading up to the RPC's agreement last year, said it they are working to determine which options may be available to keep the lights on after June 30.

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