The message to candidates is simple: Make the Baton Rouge region's traffic crisis a top priority of your campaign, work cooperatively in support of a comprehensive regional mobility plan, and offer serious and specific funding solutions to implement it.
The effectiveness of these investments – and, as history has shown, people’s willingness to support them – is directly tied to a clear assurance that they will be used as intended, toward clearly identified projects, with clear and quantifiable results. With that in mind, CRISIS stands ready to work in partnership on these efforts, and is emphasizing the following priorities for gubernatorial and legislative candidates seeking election this fall:
Work cooperatively toward the creation of a comprehensive regional mobility plan
In order for the region to receive equitable infrastructure investment commensurate with its needs, the new Governor and the Capital Area legislative delegation must work cooperatively with local and regional officials to form a consensus plan which identifies regionally significant projects through a data-driven analysis determining greatest mobility improvement for the dollar.
Support multimodal strategies that give citizens greater transportation options
The region’s congestion problems are not limited to major thoroughfares but impact surface streets as well. A long-term plan must also include strategies that increase transportation options, including improved street connectivity and multimodal alternatives to automobile travel.
Push accelerated action to improve the “I-10 bottleneck”
Louisiana economist Dr. Loren Scott has characterized the corridor between LA 415, the Mississippi River Bridge, and the split as I-10’s biggest bottleneck in the country. Congestion near the bridge impacts citizens and businesses across the state and region and will require state and regional support to address it. DOTD is currently conducting a major corridor improvement study – both the study and the construction schedule should be accelerated for completion in the next four years.
Deliver an additional major alternative route through the region
As DOTD points out, improving I-10 will provide meaningful traffic relief, but it alone cannot fix the overall congestion problem. For decades, a number of alternative routes have been proposed and studied. Again, using data-driven analysis, state and regional leaders must form consensus and deliver funding toward the best and most feasible solution for congestion relief within the next four years.
Develop comprehensive, fiscally responsible funding strategy to implement the regional plan
Just as a regional mobility plan requires a comprehensive approach, funding its components will require multiple strategies – including, if necessary, increased gas, sales, or severance taxes dedicated to specific projects – to achieve a level of investment sufficient to meet the region’s backlog and capacity needs, improve safety and quality of life, and sustain economic growth.