Mayor, Council members at odds over bridges

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Posted: Dec 15, 2010 4:29 PM by Chris Nakamoto
Updated: Dec 15, 2010 4:29 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: Kip Holden, Metro Council, Bond Issue, Bridge, dangerous, Baton Rouge, WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden is at odds with some members of the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council over ways to improve infrastructure.

Holden said at least 34 bridges in the parish received a dangerous rating from parish engineers. According to Holden, some of the bridges have ratings equivalent to the one in Minnesota that collapsed three years ago.

"There's some council members who want to hold off on a bond issue," Holden said. "No one has a time table on when a bridge may collapse and yet they take a very casual attitude of when a bridge may collapse."

Councilman Joel Boe disagreed with the Mayor.

"That's far from the truth," Boe said. "The bond issues that were part of the 2008-2009 years, in 2009 it was opposed by 65% of the public, so I wouldn't say it's opposed by the council."

Voters turned down Holden's tax plan two years in a row. The tax plan was mixed with economic development and infrastructure improvements.

"These are now life and death matters," Holden said. "I cannot afford for them to play a game on such a serious matter, and so therefore, I am going directly to the people and letting them know how serious this is."

Boe said he and other council members are not opposed to infrastructure improvements. However, he would like to see economic development separated from some of the parish's needs.

"Truly, if it (the bridges) is an endangerment or an immediate health and safety issue, they should be shutdown," Boe said.

Holden requested a list from parish engineers on the most dangerous bridges. That list should be given to Holden by the end of the week.

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