CRISIS recommends regional projects to unclog traffic congestion in Capital City; biggest benefit would come from new Mississippi River bridge

A business and industry group lobbying for major upgrades to the Baton Rouge region’s transportation grid on Tuesday identified $3 billion in key highway improvements it says would unclog the capital city’s perennially stalled roads.

The cost-benefit analysis from CRISIS says multiple projects are needed, but the highest benefit would come from boosting highway capacity over the Mississippi River by building a new bridge costing up to $1.6 billion and increasing use of the U.S. 190 bridge.

While Capital Region Industry for Sustainable Infrastructure Solutions officials suggested tolls could contribute to funding for the bridge and some other projects, the group’s executive director said new revenue sources — likely a higher gasoline tax — still would be necessary to provide the hundreds of millions of dollars a year needed to pay for the projects.

“These are not cheap projects, but what we found out from the analysis is they provide a tremendous bang for the buck, and if we’re smart about it, we can really transform how the region really moves,” said K. Scott Kirkpatrick, executive director of CRISIS…

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by David J. Mitchell at the Advocate