BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A trio of local mayors have announced their support for East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome’s MoveBR traffic plan Friday.
The plan would fund nearly 70 projects in the capital region with a half-cent sales tax increase through 2049 that would raise around $1 billion. Find a list of the proposed projects here.
Baker’s Darnell Waites, Central’s Jr. Shelton, and Zachary’s David Amrhein joined Broome for a news conference on the corner where Foster Drive intersects at Florida Boulevard in Baton Rouge.
“This is a tax that we believe has to pass this time,” Amrhein said. “We cannot continue to kick the can down the road much longer because somebody eventually has to pay. We need to move forward.”
If the tax passes, most of the plans would be paid for in advance so they can be completed in the next “10 to 12 years,” Broome said. That means the remaining two decades of the tax will be on the books to pay off projects that would already be complete.
The East Baton Rouge Metro Council killed a previous attempt at a parish-wide traffic fix, which would have been funded with a property tax.
“Twenty years of talk and no action has gotten us to where we are today with an extreme traffic problem in this parish,” Broome said. “Traffic continues to get worse in our community and our infrastructure is corroding.”
The mayors says they hope throwing bipartisan, parish-wide support behind the proposal will convince enough voters to approve the tax during the Dec. 8 election.
Most of the mayors say they don’t often support tax increases, but added they’ve reached a breaking point.
“We can continue to sit in traffic, gripe, and shoot down taxes that will help solve the problems,” Shelton said. “Or we can vote for this tax and get the parish moving again.”