Shared from the 3/3/2019 American Press eEdition

In comparison to failing infrastructure, tolls worth it

First and foremost, on behalf of the Alliance for Positive Growth Board of Directors, I would like to commend the members of the I-10 Task Force for the time and effort they all put in to crafting this wellresearched, concise proposal. This infrastructure project has regional, national and even global impacts to commerce and travel. The I-10 Task Force understands these implications and has placed a priority on solving the problem rather than relying solely on the state to do so. Should the I-10 Calcasieu River bridge fail or be decommissioned for any reason, it will be catastrophic to our region’s development and growth.

The idea of paying a toll has been met with resistance by many in Southwest Louisiana. While this apprehension is understandable, it’s important to understand that the possibility of a toll is not unique to the Task Force’s proposal. Tolls are also included in prior proposals put forth by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. Tolls are not a new concept and are successfully being used across the country and even in other parts of our state. While tolls may not be the most ideal, in comparison to failing infrastructure, they are certainly the lesser of two evils.

The proposed method of funding, a Private Public Partnership (P3), is becoming increasingly popular across the United States. As both a citizen and a member of the business community here in Southwest Louisiana, it’s comforting to know that the Task Force took the time to research and even visit other areas of the country where this plan was put in place successfully before suggesting it for our community. This plan isn’t a clumsy attempt at solving a complex issue, it is calculated and complete.

Another point worth mentioning is that the task force will ask LA DOTD to include, as part of the Request for Proposal, an important stipulation; that consideration be given to local companies for supplies, labor and other subcontracting needs. Not only does this support local business but it also allows for money to flow back into our local economy in a variety of ways. Much like other large construction projects in our area, local business stands to benefit tremendously.

What it all boils down to is the resiliency and grit that Southwest Louisiana is known for. We can continue to point fingers at local and state officials, we can demand other forms of public funding that we know will not come or we can rally behind this plan and get it done ourselves. We’ve exhibited that same can-do attitude time and time again throughout our region’s history, this should be no different.

Michael Hankins

Alliance for Positive Growth

Board of Directors president

See this article in the e-Edition Here