Bill that could build a new bridge over the Mississippi River gaining steam
BATON ROUGE - Building a new bridge over the Mississippi River is the latest idea lawmakers have to alleviate traffic, but it would come at a cost.
Through Bill SB 496, a Capital Area Road and Bridge District would be created. The district would be made up of members from five parishes. Ascension, Livingston, East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge and Iberville would work together to design, choose a location and build a new bridge across the Mississippi River and its connecting roads.
Bill sponsor Sen. Rick Ward says he would like to see the majority of the funding come from private partners. But, a tax, likely a sales tax, or tolls would also be needed. The tax would have to be approved by voters in all five parishes.
“I wouldn't mind paying money to help out,” said Mike Fabacher of Baton Rouge.
“As long as we can see a benefit from it,” added Pat Ritchie, another Baton Rouge resident.
The two both say traffic along the ‘new bridge’ is bad.
“It’s frustrating to work all day-long and then you have to sit in traffic for two, three hours,” Fabacher added.
But, there are some concerns with building a new bridge.
“What’s going to happen to downtown,” Ritchie asked. “What’s going to happen to our local businesses that benefit from the traffic?”
The bill passed on the House floor Friday. It still has some hurdles, but, if approved, voters in all five parishes could see the bridge on a ballot as early as Spring 2019.
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