Council Says ‘No’ to Loop Thru Central

Council Says ‘No’ to Loop Thru Central

City Council Vote Could Block Loop Crossing City of Central

CENTRAL — In a major setback for the proposed Baton Rouge Loop, the Central City Council Tuesday night voted to disapprove the Loop from crossing Central.

The meeting began with an explanation by City Attorney Sherri Morris that no toll expressway can cross the City of Central under La. R.S. 48:2020 without the approval of the City Council.

Some members of the audience and two members of the City Council said the Loop should continued to be studied.

But Councilman Wayne Messina said the Loop has been studied for five years at a cost of more than $6 million and that it was time for the City of Central to express its disapproval of the project.

Gene Baker, chairman of Neighbors in Action, a Livingston Parish group that opposes the Loop, said he came to the meeting to seek Central’s cooperation with Livingston in defeating the Loop.

Baker said Messina’s timing was perfect, because the Federal Highway Administration has given citizens until Jan. 23 to file comments on the Loop.  After that, the FHWA could give the project Tier I approval.  Now is the time for Central to take a stand on the project, Baker said.

Realtor and former mayoral candidate Jr. Shelton said if Louisiana law gives the City of Central the right to veto the project, the Council should do just that.

After a two-hour meeting and more than 20 speakers on both sides, the Council voted 3 to 2 in favor of the resolution to disapprove the Loop.

The Central City News presented a binder with more than 1,000 letters and other comments by Central residents in opposition to the Loop.

Kim Ellis, representing Young Adults of Central, presented 130 signatures from individuals who said they thought the Loop should not be rejected but “left on the table” for further study. Several other young adults took the same approach, saying they were not necessarily for or against the Loop.

However, Messina said the looming FHWA deadline required the Council to take action now.


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