“A big apple to bite”: DOTD proposes Highway Priority Program for infrastructure improvement

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- The Department of Transportation and Development is on the road this week, meeting with city and state leaders to discuss concerns for each parish.

State Rep. Vincent Pierre, the newly appointed Chair of the House Transportation Committee, discussed the biggest priorities.

Vincent Pierre spent the last eight years working alongside these very committee members. Now as head of the committee, he said he plans to use every resource possible to clean up some of the state’s worst road conditions.

Leading the conversation on infrastructure refinement, state lawmakers join DOTD to propose a Highway Priority Program and Statewide Transportation Improvement Program.

“Listen, $14 billion in a backlog of projects is a big apple to bite, but if we can begin to start talking about ways to address the many issues,” said Pierre.

To find out what’s the top priority for the state, leaders across the region gather to categorize things that fall under preservation, operations, safety and quality of life.

“Some of the things that they talk about are the same concerns we’ve had eight years ago. We have to figure out ways that we can address those concerns,” he added.

That includes potholes, railroads and roadway flooding. The issues mentioned stretch from Lafayette, Acadia, Vermilion, Iberia Parishes and beyond.

“The corridor is a regional project. We’re really looking for regional support on this. Think about what it can do for economic prosperity and safety,” said Cydra Wingerter, Lafayette Consolidated Government’s chief administrative officer.

“The transportation of things like the big 18-wheelers that travel down Highway 90 going to the Port of Iberia, cane trucks and things of that nature,” said Iberia Parish President Larry Richard.

As leaders testified their projects of concern, a list was compiled for the department to overview for the ensuing fiscal year.

“An elected official only know what they know.  If we think every state representative knows every road in their district that needs to be addressed, we’re kidding ourselves,” Richard added.

The committee will use the information gathered during the roadshows to take into account during the first Legislative Session which begins March 9th.

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