Governor candidates discuss infrastructure, money
BATON ROUGE - For the first time Friday, the four declared candidates for governor gathered to discuss hot topic issues facing Louisiana.
Republicans David Vitter, Jay Dardenne and Scott Angele along with democrat John Bel Edwards all focused on infrastructure problems and not enough money to pay for necessary construction. All four agree that Louisiana has an infrastructure problem, but they have different ideas on how to solve it.
Vitter, a U.S. Senator, feels the state needs to push transportation money out of the capital outlay process.
"On the spending side we need to make sure that's actually going to concrete, asphalt and steel," he said. "That's what people want to pay for at the pump, and if that doesn't change it will be completely close-minded to any discussion down the road."
State Representative Bel Edwards says real reform would be dedicating $75 million of capital outlay money to transportation and infrastructure.
"If you've got all this growth without net new revenue then you're incentivizing that growth to the point where you cannot maintain your commitments to these higher priority items, and we've got to take a look at that," said Bel Edwards.
Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle says Louisiana's best days are ahead of us, and he would like to put his hand on the steering wheel to make sure good things happen.
"Let's not have the 64 parishes depend on the Capital City to make them great," he said. "Let's give them the where with all to do what they need to do, so we can make our job easier to focus on some of the bigger priorities of the state."
Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne does not want to use capital outlay money for local projects and non-profits. Instead, he feels it should be used for state projects.
"If we're really going to make transportation a priority we've got to make it a priority in our capital outlay process," he said. "That's going to be tough to do, because people are dependent upon running to the Capitol, making sure they have a governor that's friendly to them, letting their legislator get a project in the process and making it happen."
The race for governor has a long way to go until the gubernatorial primary in October.