Mayor Broome announces new plan to improve traffic; project list released

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Mayor-president Sharon Weston Broome held a news conference Monday morning to provide details about a tax proposal to fund roads and transportation in Baton Rouge.

The mayor says the time for talk is over and she believes it's time something is done about traffic in the city-parish. "We must work to reduce traffic and congestion in this parish," she said.

Calling it the BTR, or Better Transportation and Roads plan, Broome says it's better than anything ever presented in the city-parish. She presented it as a new approach she hopes will be a major investment for the future.

"We cannot correct our transportation issues by solely concentrating on street expansion and construction," said Broome.

While the plan does ask voters to support a new 5 mill property tax, Broome says the idea is not like the Green Light Plan, which only focused on road expansion. Instead, her plan aims to make technology a major focus of the traffic fix.

"We are going to be concerned about roads and rehab, but we're trying to move into the 21st century in terms of alleviating traffic and congestion," Broome added.

The measure could drive onto the ballot in November, but first has be approved by council members this week. So far, some council members like what they hear. "My initial thought is yes, because I do believe it's the number one problem we have probably in this city," said Councilwoman Barbara Freiberg.

While it sounds good, other council members say they still need to see specifics of the plan before they dive in. "I came here today hoping that I would get a list of what were the actual projects involved," said Councilman Buddy Amoroso.

"I want to see it first, but I'm looking to hopefully send this to voters and let them make a decision," said Councilwoman Donna Collins-Lewis.

Voters just shot down a 5 mill increase last fall for the Green Light 2 Plan, but Amoroso says while nobody likes new taxes, they may be more willing to support this plan now. "Last year, I thought it was a bad timing with the flood, but I can't say that this year," said Amoroso.

Another advantage Broome says this measure has over the failed Green Light Plan is she is in charge and believes she can sell the idea to voters better than the previous administration. "I will be actively involved in making sure the citizens of this community understand what they will be voting for and the impact it will have on this city and parish," said Broome.

The 5-mill property tax proposal will go before the East Baton Rouge metro council on Wednesday, July 26. If the council approves, the measure will appear on the ballot for the November election. Some of that money could be used to improve sidewalks, create bike paths, and add lighting. Broome says the big focus though is to improve traffic flow in the parish.

Below is a list of proposed projects.

Click here to read financing information on the projects.

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