Baton Rouge business-led coalition endorses tax proposals for traffic improvements
The Capital Region Industry for Sustainable Infrastructure Solutions, or CRISIS, is the latest group to back a pair of proposals on the Dec. 10 ballot that would fund the city-parish’s Green Light Plan to improve local roads and streets.
One proposition would authorize a 30 year, 5-mill property tax for capacity improvement projects for major roads. For a $200,000 home, the additional tax would equal about $62.50 a year. The second proposal rededicates the Green Light Plan’s original half-cent sales tax to fund 150 rehabilitation and community enhancement projects through 2030.
Both must pass for the plan to move forward. The Baton Rouge Area Chamber endorsed the propositions last week, and CRISIS announced its support for them this morning.
When deciding in September whether to place the propositions on the ballot, some Metro Council members voted against doing so, arguing that residents could not shoulder the burden of an additional property tax as they struggled to recover from the August flood.
In its statement, CRISIS says projects in the Green Light Plan would have a positive impact on traffic conditions, and implementation of the plan is just as important as the plan’s project.
“We believe the implementation can achieve optimal results for enhancing worker mobility and travel options in three key ways: first, by making data-driven decisions to prioritize construction of projects that address the worst traffic hotspots, and result in greatest congestion relief for the dollar,” says Cordell Haymon, Senior Vice President, SGS Petroleum Service Corp. and CRISIS leadership member, in a prepared statement. “Second, by embracing street connectivity opportunities in the construction plan; and third, by adhering to ‘complete streets’ policies that expand mobility options.”
According to a CRISIS evaluation of U.S. Census data, 69% of working East Baton Rouge Parish residents commute to work within the parish, and 55% of all workers experience commute times of 20 minutes or more.
If the ballot initiatives are approved, the property tax would generate $450 million through 2046 to build 45 major road capacity improvement projects, CRISIS says.
Also on the Dec. 10 ballot are proposals to increase the city-parish hotel occupancy tax by 2%—which would generate an estimated $2.6 million annually for tourism efforts—and a new 2% occupancy tax for the Baton Rouge North Economic Development District.