Group highlights EBR commuter data, points to 3 keys to enhancing worker mobility, travel options
CRISIS announced its support for two propositions that will appear on the December 10 ballot in East Baton Rouge parish that would expand and extend transportation and infrastructure improvements through the Green Light Plan to address traffic congestion inside the parish.
While CRISIS has previously stressed the importance of cross-parish, or regionally significant improvements, as shown in a Regional Projects Analysis released in February of this year, commuter data also strongly indicates the need for improvements within the region’s largest parish. According to a CRISIS analysis of Census data, 69 percent of working East Baton Rouge residents commute to work somewhere within the parish itself, while 55 percent of all East Baton Rouge workers experience commute times of 20 minutes or more.
In announcing its support for the ballot initiatives, CRISIS also highlighted three key opportunities for the parish through the plan’s implementation, in keeping with principles the group has emphasized since its formation.
“We believe the projects covered by the plan, which was developed by consulting previous planning efforts and from public input, will have a positive impact on traffic conditions and quality of life in East Baton Rouge parish,” said Cordell Haymon, Senior Vice President, SGS Petroleum Service Corp. and CRISIS leadership member. “Given the flexibility that has reasonably been built into the plan, precisely how the plan will be implemented is just as important as the projects themselves. We believe the implementation can achieve optimal results for enhancing worker mobility and travel options in three key ways: first, by making data-driven decisions to prioritize construction of projects that address the worst traffic hotspots, and result in greatest congestion relief for the dollar; second, by embracing street connectivity opportunities in the construction plan; and third, by adhering to ‘complete streets’ policies that expand mobility options.”
If the ballot initiatives are approved, both of which are required for the plan to move forward, the new Green Light Plan would authorize a 5-mill property tax for 30 years, generating $450 million through 2046 to build 45 major road capacity improvement projects. A five mill property tax will cost a homeowner with a $200,000 home about $62.50 a year, or just over $5 a month. The program would also, at no additional cost to taxpayers, rededicate the Green Light Plan’s original half-cent sales tax to build 150 rehabilitation and community enhancement projects through 2030.
National studies have noted that the Baton Rouge region ranks third worst in the nation among mid-sized cites for traffic, and that congestion and road conditions cost the average driver more than $1,900 per year.