Regional leaders meet in West Monroe to discuss transportation needs
Friday, September 30, 2016 at 3:55:53 PM
WEST MONROE, La. -- With a united goal of finding ways to reinvest in Louisiana’s roads, bridges, and ports, a group of regional leaders and stakeholders, including industry and economic development partners, met Thursday in West Monroe to talk transportation.
This was the sixth regional meeting of Governor John Bel Edwards’ Task Force on Transportation Infrastructure Investment and was hosted by the Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance and the North Delta Regional Planning and Development District at the West Monroe Convention Center.

The group is co-chaired by Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development’s Secretary Shawn Wilson, Ph.D., and Maj. Gen. John Basilica, vice president and Gulf Coast district leader for HNTB Corporation.
“The Northeast Louisiana Region applauds the Governor's appointment of a task force to work with DOTD in evaluating the public's opinion on funding to secure a proper approach to infrastructure needs in all of Louisiana,” said Tana Trichel, CEO and president of NELEA. “The needs exceed the capacity and rectifying that is critical to economic development as much as it is to the communities served.”

Understanding the reality of a multi-billion dollar backlog in transportation needs, Governor Edwards announced the Task Force in June 2016 in order to focus on ways to reinvest in the state’s roads, bridges, and ports, and re-engage federal partners.
“We’re having this conversation all over the state because the infrastructure we build is for our communities," said Dr. Wilson. “This is an important step in a very critical and necessary process. With sound and sustainable policy, DOTD can and will deliver a transportation system the people of Louisiana deserve.”

The duties of the task force include researching, identifying, and making specific actionable recommendations for achieving sufficient increased levels of recurring funding to address the transportation backlog in highway and bridge maintenance needs in Louisiana. The task force will make recommendations to Governor Edwards to improve infrastructure in the state.
“The Governor’s task force is receiving numerous recommendations from communities across the state regarding how best to invest in transportation,” Dr. Wilson said. “This process will ultimately result in the task force making an informed recommendation to the Governor that is based on feedback from each region of the state. At this time, all funding options are on the table. Our recommendation is due January 1st and we plan to make sure that we put something in front of the governor that will make a meaningful difference in the quality of life and economic outlook of our citizens.”