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Dozens show up to tell federal transportation representatives what they want -- and what they don't

2 months 3 weeks 5 days ago Tuesday, November 28 2023 Nov 28, 2023 November 28, 2023 10:22 PM November 28, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - About 40 people filled a room at the main library Tuesday night, eager to tell federal transportation officials what was on their minds.

Representatives of divisions of the Department of Transportation opened the session with a presentation of work being done in the Capital Area.

About half-an-hour into the slideshow, former U.S. Rep. Woody Jenkins -- who now chairs the East Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce -- spoke the minds of those fidgeting in their seats and urged organizers to get to the main course: public feedback.

An airing of grievances followed -- from dissatisfaction with the plan to widen I-10 to complaints about roundabouts and the lack of highway access to communities like Prairieville.

Jenkins was among the toughest critics, taking on the multi-year I-10 overhaul. He called it "extraordinarily expensive -- way over a billion dollars. It's going to take many years. It's going to disrupt this community, this economy."

Some attendees offered more than feedback; they pitched homegrown transportation proposals.

The federal officials took notes but said they were there not to engage in a debate -- rather to take the pulse of the community.

"The process requires us to seek input from residents of the area," Laura Phillips, representing the Federal Highway Administration, told the crowd.

"That's our purpose here tonight."

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