From the Desk of Clif Richardson

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Submitted by Representative Clif Richardson's office

The 2010 session is now behind us.  As we wrapped our work, the governor began the task of reviewing and deciding which bills he would sign and which would be vetoed.
       Of particular importance to the citizens of Central, was the line-item vetoes on House Bill 2, the Capital Outlay budget for 2010-2011.  Governor Jindal vetoed $5 million for planning and construction of the Greater Baton Rouge Loop.  In his veto message, the Governor said, "The state has scarce capital outlay and general fund dollars available to meet the capital outlay needs of our state.  It is therefore important that major projects such as this have the widest support possible and the consensus of the legislative delegation in the area.  That consensus has not thus far been achieved.  without the consensus of the public and the legislative delegation, the success of the project is in question.  It would therefore be premature to fund the planning of such a large and controversial project until a consensus can be achieved."
       At the end of session, as it became obvious that the money for the loop would be included in the capital outlay bill, six members of Greater Baton Rouge Legislative Delegation signed a letter to Governor Jindal asking for his veto of this project.  They were Eddie Lambert, Rogers Pope, Karen St. Germain, Mert Smiley, Bodi White, and myself.  In the letter to the governor we stated that the economic, environmental and personal impact of the loop on our communities and citizens should be considered before committing funds to this project.  Further, three parish presidents, Mike Grimmer of Livingston Parish, Tommy Martinez of Ascension Parish, and Mitch Ourso of Iberville Parish, have resigned  from the Capital Area Expressway Authority saying they no longer support the loop concept.  One member even predicted that the concept "is dead."  And Mike Grimmer told the Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee that due to a lack of definitive, concrete information about the location of the loop, a number of southern areas that will be affected have been changing their position as to whether they will or won't support this project.
       We also pointed out to the Governor that the opposition has not been given adequate opportunity to express their opinions and concerns.  As these people are property owners, voters, and tax payers, they deserve as much respect as the proponents of this measure.
       I want to personally thank Governor Jindal for listening to us and considering our opinion on this project.  As he said in his veto message, the state has little money for state projects and with so much opposition and so many unknowns about this project, we believe he was prudent in refusing to allow money to be spent to fund this proposal.


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