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Taxes to fund road work, transportation projects on December ballot

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BATON ROUGE – On the December ballot, East Baton Rouge voters will get a chance to vote on two taxes that will fund road work and transportation projects.

The city wants voters to vote for the re-purposing of the existing tax and to add a 5-mill property tax.

"The plan is here we want to accelerate, expand, and extend, the existing Green Light Plan," Steve Bonnette, of the Department of Transportation and Drainage, said.

The Green Light Plan was approved by voters eleven years ago. 70 percent of the 25-year-long project is complete.

Officials say the increase in property tax is about $60 for a $200,000 home and that would pay for the remaining projects and about 40 new ones. A value some say would be worth the tax.

"I'm for it, I mean the traffic everywhere in Baton Rouge is bad, I mean when you are trying to get to work and trying to get home, I don't see why it would hurt to spend a few extra dollars so I can get on where I need to go, or get home," Yancie David, one driver, said.

"I'm tired of sitting in traffic everyday, anything to help it, I'd be willing to vote for it," Scott Beckman, another driver, said.

Voters will be able to decide on two separate tax proposals. There is a sales tax which will help projects like fixing potholes and roadways and there is a property tax that will help with capacity such as a project to widen Nicholson Drive, where there is always congestion.

If city projects like widening Nicholson do get the green light, it will work hand in hand with state-wide improvements.

"They are considering, possibly a new bridge, crossing south of the existing bridge, and if that were to happen, that crossing would probably connect with Nicholson Drive, at some location along there and we feel like we would be prepared for that," Bonnette said.

There are about 1,600 miles of streets in East Baton Rouge and current funding allows for only 20 miles a year. The city says the re-purposed sales tax would change that.

"We want to keep this same pace of this program. We hope the citizens have seen this is successful and they want to keep this program moving forward,"Bonnette said.

A series of meetings about the Green Light Proposal is being hosted by the City-Parish. The meeting schedule is below:

Tuesday, Nov. 29

5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Council District 11
Main Library 
7711 Goodwood Blvd.

Wednesday, Nov. 30
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Council District 5
Charles R. Kelly Community Center 
3535 Riley Street 

Thursday, Dec. 1
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Council District 10
Dr. Leo S. Butler Community Center
950 Washington E. Street 

Monday, Dec. 5
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. 

Council Districts 12 & 3
Bluebonnet Branch Library
9200 Bluebonnet Blvd.

Tuesday, Dec. 6
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Council Districts 6 & 7
Dr. Martin Luther King Community Center
400 Gus Young Avenue 

Thursday, Dec. 8
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. 

Council District 2
Scotlandville Branch Library 
7373 Scenic Highway 


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