Central City Council Tackles Baton Rouge Loop

Central City Council Tackles Baton Rouge Loop

City Councilmen Want to Repeal Law Authorizing BR Loop District

by Woody Jenkins

CENTRAL — On Tuesday night, Nov. 22, the Central City Council was scheduled to debate a resolution putting the City of Central on record as opposing the Baton Rouge Loop.  The Loop would cut a wide path across the city.

Supporters and opponents of the Loop were to be given the opportunity to speak at the meeting at 6 p.m. at Kristenwood.

Councilman Wayne Messina introduced the resolution.  In an interview Monday, Messina said, “We have been mandated by the people of Central to oppose the Loop.  We are not interested in a Loop that would cut Central in half.  Three parish presidents have come out against it, and our legislators have spoken against it.  Yet, Mayor-President Kip Holden continues to push it.  Now comes the news that he will try to fund it with federal funds, and lock the people out of the process.”

“We as a City Council need to speak loud and clear,” he said.

Messina said a much less expensive and practical “loop” is already being created using existing roads.

The Loop would cost billions, but these roads cost tens of millions.  “The Central Thruway will connect us to I-12, and the bridge across the Amite at Hooper will connect us to Livingston Parish.  The widening of Sullivan Road will put those pieces of the puzzle together,” he said.

Traffic studies conducted by the Baton Rouge Loop were made public as a result of a public records request last year by the Central City News.  Those studies show the Loop would do very little or nothing to reduce traffic on I-10 in the City of Baton Rouge or on I-12 in Livingston Parish.

Livingston Parish Mike Grimmer has been a leading opponent of the Loop.  Although he was defeated on Saturday, the new parish president, Layton Ricks, said during the campaign that he too opposes the Loop.

Messina said he hopes that the entire Central City Council will support his resolution.

“This is something we should all unite on,” he said.

Messina said the key is for Central legislators to introduce a bill to repeal the Capitol Expressway Authority.  “They are hoping to use this authority to get federal funds to build the Loop.  Until we repeal the underlying legislation, this will remain a serious threat.  I hope this resolution sends a message to our legislators that Central wants that authority repealed.”


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