Louisiana state and local leaders weigh in on new interstate proposal

ALEXANDRIA, La. Interstate 14 is America’s newest interstate and it may be coming your way.

The Vice Chairman of the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition Malcolm Morris said he hopes the interstate will help the south bounce back. (Source: Gray DC)

Here in Louisiana, the proposed route will take I-14 along Highway 28 through Alexandria, connect to U.S. 84 and then enter Mississippi after Vidalia.

“The roads in Louisiana all over it are in pretty bad condition," said Malcolm Morris, the Vice Chairman of the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition.

Malcolm Morris—Vice Chairman of the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition—said Louisiana is struggling. He hopes I-14, once complete, will help the south bounce back.

“All of these places are small towns and economically disadvantaged," said Morris.

"This will be helping areas to develop that will not develop without that."

Morris and other community organizers say I-14 would help companies and the military move materials more efficiently, attract new businesses, and bring in revenue from travelers buying gas and food too.

The Central Louisiana’s Regional Chamber of Commerce President Deborah Randolph said she is excited for Alexandria’s future along the interstate path.

But residents should not expect to see the interstate completed for years.

While Randolph agrees the corridor would be an economic boon for the entire state, she says there’s a backlog of projects that need to be finished first.

“Look at how we can invest more funds so we can address the backlog but also build for the future," said Randolph.

Louisiana is responsible for paying for the project, but they can apply for federal money to help them fund the construction, according to members of the advocacy group the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition.

Republican Congressman Ralph Abraham said he does not want to see an increase in taxes.

“We want this done with money already allocated from the taxpayers—we just have to use it better, more efficiently," said Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA).

Lawmakers still have to vote to approve the interstate’s route through Louisiana.

Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce members and business leaders will be traveling to Washington, D.C. in January to meet with lawmakers about the project.

Copyright 2020 Gray DC. All rights reserved.



 
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