Kennedy proposes using budget surplus toward I-49 South project

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Extra money from Louisiana's budget could be the key to paying for a major road project through the southern part of the state.

About $100 million will be left over at the end of the year and state Treasurer John Kennedy wants the majority of it to go to fund the I-49 South project.

If and once completed, the stretch from New Orleans to Lafayette would serve as an evacuation route and ease I-10 traffic through Baton Rouge.

The problem is it's going to cost between $2 billion and $5 billion to pay for it. Kennedy said the surplus would at least get the ball rolling.

"It's not enough, but it's a start," Kennedy said. "Now, we say I-49 is the single most important infrastructure project in the state. That's what we say. If it is, then we need to put our money where our mouth is."

An 18-mile section of the interstate was just completed near Shreveport at a cost of $171 million.

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