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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I-49 needs “grand slam” commitment

Mayor upon mayor. Leader upon leader. Official upon official. Senators and congressmen sing the same tune: I-49 North is the artery that will feed the heart of Louisiana and pave the promise of economic development in all its forms.

All believe. Many have worked and pushed, but the whole deal isn’t final.

Louisiana is rebuilding piece by piece today after the hurricanes – and we see some slow revitalization. Committing wholly to finishing I-49 North will convert our dial-up connection to the nation’s economy into a broadband conduit. (Metaphors and analogies? I got a million of ‘em.)

As Shreveport Mayor Glover lamented at the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Group today, our state has its single best opportunity to seal a “complete and absolute” deal to fund all 35 miles left uncompleted with our state’s approaching-two-billion-dollars budget surplus. His voice got louder as he intimated that Governor Blanco will be failing the whole state if she doesn’t act fast on our number one priority for economic development.

Glover said he pressed the opportunity of the budget surplus for I-49 with the governor. Until a deal is sealed, he’ll go around telling folks about the languishing opportunity: meeting after meeting, resident to resident and newspaper to all media.

The half-baked commitment we have needs to become “complete and absolute.” A “grand slam” is needed in our 9th-inning status after the hurricanes -- rather than the “bunts” Blanco is hitting, Glover contends. Committing now for the whole enchilada (from here to Arkansas) is the “single greatest thing we can do,” Glover said.

Seize the day governor and set a “legacy that will be everlasting.”

Hesitation and delays only mean more costs and undelivered promise that will be your legacy.

Finish the song.

---- posted by Alan English, executive editor

Note: “Government should pave the way and get out of the way,” said Louisiana Secretary of State Jay Dardenne speaking at Shreveport Rotary today. His choice of “pave” in reference to government’s role in hurricane recovery hit a chord.


Blogger evets said...

I wish to ask for support for funding for I-49 -- especially the Inner City segment between I-20 and I-220.

I am helping Representative Roy Burrell get funding for I-49 North with his bill HB 321.

The opposition to funding of I-49 North has presented multiple proposals in an attempt to confuse and divert attention from legislation that really will fund I-49 NOrth such as HB 321.

I regret to say that this opposition has shown itself in none other than our own legislators: Senator Lydia Jackson and Rep. Billy Montgomery. Senator Jackson is now blocking HB 321 from passing the Senate, and Rep. Montgomery is amending House bill HB 321 in order to defeat it.

Rep. Montgomery's HB 531 copied Rep. Burrell's HB 321 for the sole purpose of having two similar bills to fund I-49, and then Montgomery changed his bill to make it flawed and not workable. This is Montgomery's strategy -- to confuse and delay the funding for I-49 North from I-20 to the Belcher by introducing extraneous legislation that will not do the job by just confusing everyone.

Senator Lydia Jackson's tirade and complete emotional breakdown in the Legislature Tuesday, May 22, 2007, demonstrates that when she is caught in telling a falsehood and her falsehood is made public on e-mails by some of the business community of Shreveport, she goes berserk. She 'went after' Representative Burrell on the floor of the House of Representatives while the House was in session yelling and screaming and falsely accusing Rep. Burrell of circulating an e-mail that said she was against I-49 running through Allendale -- when she all along knew that was the truth and she really DID oppose I-49 running through Allendale. And, Representative Burrell had nothing to do with those e-mails. Now, she is trying to cover-up her misdeeds.

I ask everyone to help in any way they can and to support HB 321 -- the only bill that actually will provide sufficient state and federal funds to complete I-49 North.

Regrettably, even the Chamber, Committee of 100 and other groups in their own publications admit they do not have even a bill for I-49, much less have the legislative means to appropriate $280 million to finish I-49 North. HB 321 can do all that and more.

On Thursday, May 24, 2007, Senator Jackson's accomplice Rep. Montgomery was successful in removing the Administration's funding for I-49 in Allendale and moved the funding to I-220 to the Arkansas/Louisiana border when Rep. Montgomery amended HB 2.

Not only did Rep. Montgomery remove the funding from the Allendale section of I-49, he 'gave' away half of I-49 North's money -- $13,650,000 -- to I-49 South.

I fully understand everyone may not wish to become involved in this nasty fight to fund I-49 North that the opposition has started (and that I wish they never had started), but to paraphrase a quotation, "Now is the time for all good citizens to come to the aid of I-49 North -- by supporting HB 321."

8:47 PM  

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