Parish Council unites to pass a Letter of Concern to Governor Edwards
Davant, LA — Thursday, June 27, 2019, The Plaquemines Parish Council passed a resolution addressing the concerns of the Plaquemines Parish Government and its citizens in regard to the proposed Hwy 23 Bridge and Tunnel Replacement project.
The resolution was drafted and presented by Council Chairman W. Beau Black.
“This is not a letter in opposition of the project, it is a letter in opposition to the current proposal” detailed Black. “I feel confident that the Governor and Secretary of Transportation will work hard to help alleviate our concerns.”
The letter urged Governor John Bel Edwards and state representatives to seek alternative funding sources. The resolution detailed several concerns and ask for new proposals that will better suit and benefit Plaquemines Parish. On a roll call vote, the resolution passed with no opposition.
“As the voice of the people, this government recognized and acknowledged a better proposal must be put in place” said Parish President Lepine.
The current proposal allows for an annual increase based on Consumer Price Index plus $0.01, over 30 years. If the numbers of the generated gross revenues from the proposed toll provided by the Department of Transportation and Development are accurate, there is strong probability that approximately $800,000,000 will be generated over a 30 year lifespan. Which is roughly five times the cost of the project.
In January, DOTD received approval to build the replacement Hwy. 23 Bridge from the Federal Highway Administration. That approval signaled completion of all environmental reviews needed because of the state’s plan to pay for a portion of the project with federal funds.
The existing Hwy 23 Tunnel was built in 1956, with the Bridge being built-in 1968. About 35,000 vehicles, on average, use the bridge and tunnel daily. Traffic route serves as the primary access point to residents, businesses, and industries of Plaquemines Parish, as well as the Belle Chasse Naval Air Station. The new structure will provide more efficient commute times in daily activities and safer hurricane evacuation routes for motorists.
Contact: Jade Duplessis
Public Information Officer
Desk: (504) 934-6041