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Central residents skeptical of proposed transportation tax

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CENTRAL - Opinions on East Baton Rouge Parish President Sharon Weston Broome's proposed transportation tax are split amongst residents.

"I'm trying to address the issue where the need is, where the complaints are coming in and where the data speaks for itself," Baton Rouge Transportation and Drainage Director Fred Raiford said as he addressed the Chamber of Commerce concerning the new tax plan. "I need support from all of this parish to get this approved. It's important for the community. It's a quality of life issue for this parish."

But the plan may have trouble getting that support from the city of Central in its current form.

"I just look at the EBRP school system that we were once a part of and how we were neglected in that system," Central resident Jolice Provost said.

She says it was that neglect from Baton Rouge that caused Central to split off. Central is slated to have two of its main roads widened to four-lane highways, but Raiford and the city-parish won't say when.

"Where do we fall? Am I going to be 70 years old and retired when Central gets taken care of under this plan? Or is it going to be in the next three-to-five years," Provost said.

In fact there hasn't been any sort of schedule drawn up for the project in terms of when roads will be fixed.

"Well I can appreciate their concerns and certainly I know Hooper Road has been on the list for some time," Raiford said. "I certainly don't want to make a commitment as to which ones are going to be first, because we're going to go through a priority process."

Raiford says that priority process will include community input, but will only happen if the tax passes.

East Baton Rouge Parish residents will vote on the new tax plan on Dec. 8.

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