Community

The LOOP – 4 Interesting Facts

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By Dave Freneaux
 
    The Baton Rouge Loop has been a source of controversy in Central for years now.  The On-Again Off-Again project now seems to be a possibility once again.  This will be the first in a weekly series of articles intended to present facts about the Loop and to research and inform readers about the project.  Central Speaks will not advocate a position on the Loop except as identified in an editorial.
    The Loop project is under the control of the Capital Area Expressway Authority (CAEA) whose initial Board was made up of five Parish Presidents and the Secretary of the LA Department of Transportation & Development.  Last year the Parish Presidents of three Parishes, Livingston, Iberville and Ascension, withdrew from the Board, leaving Kip Holden of EBR Parish, Riley "Peewee" Berthelot of WBR, and Sherri LeBas, Secretary of the LA DTOD, as the three remaining Board Members.  The CAEA is currently working to determine the most likely and financially viable routes for the proposed Loop and seeking private investors to fund the project.  All of this process is under the direction and control of the three remaining Board Members.  Interesting Fact #1: Had the three Parish Presidents NOT withdrawn from the LOOP Board, they would now have half of the votes on the Board and could theoretically stalemate any vote that was not in the best interests of their parishes.  For or against the Loop, staying on the Board would have retained their ability to vote NO or YES on each decision of the CAEA.
    If the Loop does become financially viable and there is any effort to acquire property or do any construction, the Board must be reorganized to include ALL municipalities that will be affected.  This does mean that if the LOOP comes through Central, Central will have a vote on the Board, as would Livingston Parish.  Interesting Fact #2: The City of Central appears only to get a voice on the Loop Board once the project is nearing implementation.  This should be a concern for everyone in Central, whether you are for or against the Loop.
    The LOOP maps show a 1,500 foot wide "corridor" and claims abound that a Loop would have "walls".  The proposed Loop is not a "1,500-Foot Corridor With Walls."  Until the Board is reorganized with representatives from all affected municipalities, a specific route for the Loop cannot be named.  The "corridor" is only a proposed area for the route.  The road itself would look much like the 4-Lane portion of Joor Road.  The right of way would be a total of 400 feet wide to allow for the possibility of adding lanes many years in the future.  As to walls, there would be sound barriers constructed only where the actual route took the road near an existing neighborhood.  Interesting Fact #3: The road being referred to as the Loop would look much like the 4-Laned Joor Road. 
    The driving factor behind all of the Loop considerations is money.  Projected toll revenue determines which routes are financially possible.  Federal or State funding determines whether the Loop can be built if tolls do not fully justify the project.  Economic Development potential influences where municipalities may support a loop in their area.  The resulting tax benefit of Economic Development in each municipality affects every resident in the area.  Interesting Fact #4: Money is the driving factor behind the location and viability of the Loop.
    Whether you are for or against the Loop, it is important to know what it is, what it is not, and how it affects the City of Central.  Watch each week for more updates on the Loop.

2 Comments

  1. mike mannino

    December 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Fact number 4 needs to be clearly understood by everyone so that they understand that means the Northern Route is not economically viable. That leaves the route that is most damaging to our community, the base route. Though the CAEA claims they have not selected a route and that is basically true, its intellectually dishonest and is an insult to claim they are not zeroing in on the base route. THEY KNOW which route will be selected, its a stall tactic. Do not be fooled. As far as the walls, this route also gives credibility to the claims that to meet federal standards, much of this will have to be walled as it will pass near or through existing subdivisions. Lastly, Congressman Bill Cassidy responded to a question I emailed to him yesterday while he was on WJBO asking if he supported Federal funding for this project. Without hesitation, without any attempt to talk around the subject, he said NO, that he would not support a project that did not have the support of the local entities affected. He added that with 3 Parish Presidents pulling out, he did not sense support. Sen. Vitter is of a similar opinion. So where is the money coming from ? Another FACT, straight off the LOOP website, 67% of the project, at least initially, must have public funding. Nuff said, not happening. But we are not taking chances. Look for a major organizational effort after the Holidays to put this thing to bed. Hope your readers will join in as this should be a common goal for all of us in Central.

  2. Rob

    December 15, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    Thinking about getting walls for this loop shouldn’t even be a thought. I DON’T want the loop in the first place. Entertaining sound walls makes it sound like we have already accepted the loop in central. Having sound walls or not isn’t the issue… Having the loop or not is.

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