People and businesses across northwest Louisiana want to see Interstate 49 finished, yet only bits and pieces of it are being worked on. What are your plans for getting I-49 finished in northwest Louisiana and what is your timetable to get it done?
I-49 has been a never ending project that I will complete within my first year of office. This will promote industry and a better flow of traffic during emergency evacuation. It is important to meet grant requirements and deadlines.
I-49 plans are moving ahead fairly rapidly now due to the appropriation of additional funding by the 2007 Legislature. Construction of this vital highway has lagged because Louisiana has a $14 billion backlog in transportation maintenance and construction.
I'm the only candidate for Governor with a plan to provide the revenue needed to reduce this backlog significantly and to address other critical needs, such as healthcare and education. By instituting a small fee on foreign oil processed in the state, we can raise $5.5 billion each year. Even after eliminating the state income tax and the current severance tax, Louisiana will have more than $1.7 billion in additional revenue each year. I will bond some of that revenue for highway construction, providing a quick infusion of billions of dollars for highway construction. In this way, I will speed up construction of I-49 and other necessary road projects throughout the state.
My first order of business will be to finish old projects including I-49.
Anthony "Tony G" Gentile
Earlier this week I committed to the completion of I-49 immediately to the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce. Not being a Civil Engineer or having a scope of the plan I would at least project a maximum of three years to complete. It may take longer but I will make it a priority. Shreveport is primed for expansion and we have to meet the needs by providing the infrastructure.
This decision may create some dissatisfaction at the White House because I plan to re-deploy all the members of the 739th Engineer Battalion with the Louisiana Army National Guard that left for Iraq on 23 July 07, as well as any other military members from Louisiana. We are going to rebuild Louisiana first whether others like or not.
The extension and completion of I-49 is a vital economic development project in Northwest Louisiana. I support the Blueprint Louisiana agenda for the completion of I-49, which calls for the sustained funding of Louisiana's transportation program, the establishment of funds to speed up mega-projects, and partnerships with the private sector to jointly design, build, and operate toll roads. This project would provide a steady source of funds that would keep Louisiana eligible for federal matching dollars and accelerate the completion of I-49.
M.V. "Vinny" Mendoza
With or without federal funding, I plan to order five (5) Louisiana Army National Guard Engineering Battalions to complete the I-49 corridor, rebuild the levees in south Louisiana to a 1,000-year protection and to restore our coast. In addition to the military engineers, I plan to put to work all the inmates that are incarcerated in Louisiana. We are wasting millions of dollars in manpower that sits around doing nothing. With two battalions, one working South to North and the other north to South, 12 hours a day, I believe that we can complete the job within 24 months.
Arthur D. "Jim" Nichols
I'm very familiar with this story, when I ran for U.S. Senate in 1996, I spoke to a gentleman in Lafayette who said that if every politician who promised to fix Highway 90 from Lafayette to New Orleans had delivered on their promises we'd have a 12-lane highway between those cities. He also mentioned I-49. Projects like this are very expensive, and time consuming. However, with patience and determination they will be accomplished.