ASCENSION PARISH, La. (WAFB) - Drivers will likely be seeing more traffic cones around Ascension Parish if a new budget is passed. The plan, proposed by Parish President Kenny Matassa, seeks to nearly double the money going toward capital projects.
In the budget is more than $44 million for “major construction” in east Ascension Parish. Included is $24 million for the Laurel Ridge Levee Extension, which is being held up in court, $4 million for the subdivision ditch system improvement program, and $4.25 million for new river drainage upgrade.
"We were going to go through and do a onetime cleaning of all the ditches if possible in Ascension Parish and get this done this one time though and then set this up on a regular schedule where you do this,” said Parish Councilman Bill Dawson. “Every ditch will be done on some kind of frequency."
More than $25 million would go toward roads. That includes $19.3 million for the Move Ascension transportation initiative, which funds various road projects around the parish. Another $5.95 million would go towards other road construction projects, such as LA 42 widening, Highway 44/Loosemore Road improvements, and overlay projects.
“That's going to be a very important part of reducing the traffic in Ascension Parish or helping the traffic move really,” Dawson said.
Dawson says this budget shows the parish is serious about tackling the issues people are concerned about.
"All our citizens tell us that and we all know it; drainage, flood prevention, and traffic improvement, traffic flow improvement, and I think if you look at this capital budget, you’ll see that’s the focus of it,” he said.
Also in the budget is $17.98 million for the new courthouse, which is being built next to the parish administrative building.
This budget is merely a proposal. It will not be voted on until the end of November.