Legislator: Juban Crossing veto, Governor's personal vendetta

Published: Jun. 18, 2012 at 9:06 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 18, 2012 at 9:22 PM CDT
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Site for Juban Crossing shopping center
Site for Juban Crossing shopping center

LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - A Livingston Parish state senator is calling out the Governor. Senator Dale Erdey says he's not sure why Governor Jindal vetoed a plan to support Juban Crossing. He says the Governor must have a personal vendetta.

Things sit quietly on the site of Juban Crossing. Construction equipment was brought in, land was cleared and a sign went up that reads: Coming Soon 2012. The year is here, but little else is.

"People started asking questions. Then all of sudden there was a delivery of pipe. People got excited again. The questions started coming again and then you haven't seen a lot happen," said Layton Ricks, Livingston Parish President.

Juban Crossing falls in Senator Dale Erdey's district. He asked the legislature to approve a bill to use state tax money for infrastructure improvements at the site for sewer, drainage and roads.

State lawmakers approved SB673. But Governor Jindal said no. Erdey says Jindal is playing hardball politics.

"Kinda consider this a personal vendetta. The Governor has targeted those who voted against the education package," said Sen. Erdey.

While the education plan did pass, of the seven state lawmakers from Livingston Parish - three voted against the Governor's education reform. Erdey was one of the 'no' votes.

Now he says it's like the Governor, who's always touted economic development, has turned his back on progress in this parish. On 1,500 construction jobs and 2,500 new permanent jobs, said Erdey.

Jindal said the project should get the approval of Louisiana Economic Development. But Livingston officials say it's already clear LED's economic director doesn't approve of the project because it will take money away from Baton Rouge.

Erdey also says two Baton Rouge projects: Renaissance Hotel and River Park were handled the same way - but only Juban Crossing was vetoed.

"This one here is being scrutinized differently. The Governor has turned his back on Livingston Parish. As well as 39 public officials who signed a support letter for this project," Sen. Erdey said.

Parish President Layton Ricks says while he's hoping Juban Crossing will someday build; the Governor's ruling is another setback.

"I'm just disappointed right now," Ricks said.

Senator Erdey says this is not the end. He says there are other bills that have been vetoed and lawmakers are planning to pursue a veto override session.

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