Green Light Program Groundbreaking

Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 6:06pm

Baton Rouge leaders broke ground on another road construction project Thursday. It’s the eleventh project in the “Green Light Program,” which is designed to help traffic flow. Baton Rouge voters approved a $0.05 sales tax for infrastructure improvements and that tax is helping city leaders get the cash to pay for all these projects.

At a time when the national economy continues in a downward spiral, road projects in Baton Rouge keep going up. EBR Mayor-President Kip Holden says, “We have a package that’s putting people to work ahead of any package that’ll come out of Congress.”

A big portion of a national economic stimulus plan involves building infrastructure and Holden says that’ll work for the nation because it’s working in Baton Rouge. “We expect more great news next week that’ll show our rankings very high as compared to the rest of the nation.’

East Baton Rouge Parish has a AAA bond rating, meaning the parish gets low interest rates on money it borrows for projects like this one, which will extend Staring Lane from Highland to Burbank. “We’re working two different sources at the same time getting some of the best credit ratings in the history of the parish.”

Baton Rouge voters approved a $0.05 sales tax to pay for “Green Light Projects” across the parish and EBR leaders say cash will continue to roll on. Mike Walker of EBR City-Parish Council says, “You won’t run out of money because the tax dollars are guaranteed year after year after year they’re collected.

The leaders hope to bring in even more tax money come November when they propose a parish wide tax to pay for infrastructure and a variety of projects. But for some Baton Rouge residents, the projects are moving a little too fast and a little too close. Glynn Nola is concerned about the construction and says, “They talking about a sound wall behind my yard, taking some of my driveway, not parking in my driveway.”

There are growing pains in the center of town, but the EBR government says no pain, no gain, and despite national economic concerns, they say Baton Rouge is on the up and up. Kip Holden says the people of Baton Rouge will see the progress across the parish and that he thinks when the tax proposal comes up again in November voters will approve it.