Tax increase for improved roads appears on Dec. 10 ballot

Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Voters must decide whether they wish to pay more taxes for less congested roadways when they head to the polls on December 10. Voters will decide whether to approve a 5 mill property tax increase and a sales tax re-dedication proposal. EBR Transportation and Drainage director, Steve Bonnette, said the extra tax revenue is needed to help alleviate some of the traffic issues in Baton Rouge.

"Every citizen drives in traffic in this city and parish every day, and so I think most folks are aware of the problem," Bonnette said. "The real question is how do we address the problem."

An initial sales tax increase approved by voters in 2005 has already funded about 70 percent of the projects promised by 2030 under the Green Light 1 plan. This new increase would speed up the remaining items and add an additional 40 projects to the list in the Green Light 2 plan. Most of the projects include widening roadways, improving intersections, and upgrading or adding sidewalks to certain streets across the city-parish.

One of the projects under the Green Light 2 plan include widening Nicholson from just south of Ben Hur Dr. all the way to the parish line. Bonnette said those kinds of projects will improve congestion in certain areas, but only if both measures pass.

"We need both of them to pass in order to fully implement and extend the Green Light program," Bonnette added.

If passed, someone with a $200,000 home in East Baton Rouge would pay about $62.50 a year, which comes out to about $5 per month. The tax is expected to generate roughly $600 million over the next 10 years. If the measure does not pass, Bonette said only the projects included in Green Light 1 plan will get funded. While he does expect crews to meet the 2030 deadline, the work will be completed at a much slower pace.

"We've already been able to accelerate as many projects as we've been able to do under that program. The rest of it will be funded as the funding becomes available," Bonnette said.

The city-parish has hosted informational session for months on the Green Light 2 plan. For more information on those meetings, click here.

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