Gov. Jindal vetoes Juban Crossing bill

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Disappointed is how Livingston parish president Layton Ricks says he and other parish leaders are feeling. That's after Gov. Bobby Jindal vetoed a bill that would have put millions of dollars into the proposed Juban Crossing development.

"As late as three o'clock this afternoon, we were still hearing that the governor may just allow this to become law. Not necessarily sign it, but certainly not veto it," said Layton Ricks, Livingston Parish president.

But late Friday evening Gov. Bobby Jindal did exactly what Livingston parish officials and residents feared.

For the second year in a row, Jindal vetoed the bill that would  pump more than $40 million in state money into the proposed Juban Crossing. Political analyst Clay Young says there is precedence on Jindal's side.

"If others have been able to get money from the state by following the direction Livingston was traveling in, then they was precedent set for what they're doing," said Young. " If the governor is right, he says he's vetoed bills that have tried to go in the same direction, then he's got precedence on his side."

Ricks say he feels like the governor has turned his back on the parish again.

"I think primarily over the objections of one of his key administrative individuals, and that's Stephen Moret. He doesn't like what we're doing. He comes from the chamber...wants to support Baton Rouge, apparently, more so than Livingston Parish and I'm disappointed in that," said Ricks.

Young also notes this veto seems to be a part of a turf war between Baton Rouge and the rapidly growing surrounding areas.

"It's kind of hard to say what the governor's ultimate goal is. The truth is, can his veto stand up against all of the motion that is moving Livingston Parish in the direction it's going," said Young.

Developer Stephen Keller says this veto does not mean the end of Juban Crossing.

"We remain committed to fulfilling our original vision of this one-of-a-kind retail and lifestyle destination," Keller said in a statement. "We continue to work every day to move forward on the project to bring it to reality."

Ricks says a meeting is set for next week to see what parish leaders and the developers can do to keep this project moving

"This would've just changed the face of Livingston Parish, and I'm not saying it won't happen now. But it certainly won't happen in the magnitude nor in the time frame that could've happened with this support," said Ricks.