City-parish leaders want to attract major tech companies to Baton Rouge

City-Parish leaders want to attract major tech companies to Baton Rouge

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Mayor Kip Holden and the East Baton Rouge Metro Council want to make the Capital City the new hotspot for high-tech companies.

"I hope that we are, Baton Rouge is able to stay up with the times, maybe even be ahead of the times," said Metro Councilman Buddy Amoroso.

He and the rest of the council are exploring the idea of creating a technology district in the Downtown area. The purpose is to attract major companies like Tesla, a maker of high end electric cars, and smaller startups.

A focus of the initiative is smart car technology, which includes electric cars and driverless vehicles.

John Snow, a consultant with the city, is working on the initiative, which is being spearheaded by Holden. He said the driverless automobile, known as the Autonomous car, is the way of the future and Baton Rouge will be very accommodating for businesses.

"Vehicles can be tied into your grid system, to traffic lights. It's all with a goal of really digitizing the automotive industry and digitizing how people navigate through congestion and traffic," Snow said.

The Metro Council looked at the proposal at its meeting on May 11, but deferred it to a later meeting. Amoroso said some of his colleagues are concerned about the exact location of the district, which is still being worked out.

"There was reasonings that we wanted something to be a very urban setting, and that was kind of why we picked the area that we did pick it on," Amoroso said. "My colleagues want to know that it was done in a fair way, that we're not trying to give one part of the city an advantage that the other one doesn't have."

No new incentives will be offered through the initiative. Officials say the initiative is intended to market existing incentives in Baton Rouge.

The initiative could come up again at the next council meeting, which is scheduled for May 25.

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