BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - For the third year in a row, a Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) survey indicates business owners think the biggest obstacle in the way of economic growth in Baton Rouge is traffic.
The survey asked business owners to rank various issues based on their perceived impact on growth, and 18.9 percent of respondents ranked traffic at the top of their list. Crime and education tied for second.
“Our road system is overtaxed for the population we have now,” BRAC VP of Marketing Kelly Bienn said. “That certainly doesn’t bode well for the economic growth that our region is experiencing. So if we want to continue that economic growth, we have to address the infrastructure problem.”
BRAC officials said Thursday the Baton Rouge economy is growing and the population is rebounding from the 2016 floods. BRAC will release its full report on the 2019 economic outlook Dec. 13.
BRAC Business Intelligence Director Andrew Fitzgerald says traffic jams account for lost worker productivity, an increase in shipping and logistics costs, and make recruitment more difficult. He says the current infrastructure is not adequate for the size of Baton Rouge’s population.
“That’s part of the big concern. This growth has already happened and we’re ill-equipped for it,” Fitzgerald said. “As our economy grows, our population is going to grow as well. That’s good for a lot of reasons, but for infrastructure, it means we need massive improvements.”
BRAC is supporting the MovEBR half-cent sales tax increase, which would fund nearly 70 road improvement projects in the capital region.
Election day is Saturday, Dec. 8.