Mayor’s tax proposal includes many projects from failed Green Light II

    As promised, Metro Council members got their first look this afternoon at the list of transportation and traffic control projects that would be funded by Mayor Sharon Weston Broome’s proposed 5-mill property tax.

    At their meeting this afternoon, council members are expected to introduce the proposed tax plan for debate next month. They will decide at the August meeting whether to put the millage on a November ballot.

    Broome’s plan includes a list of 43 projects throughout the parish totaling an estimated $540.4 million, some $445.5 million of which would be paid for with money generated by the 20-year dedicated tax.

    Of that total, $269 million would go to 23 construction projects to widen roads, build new connecting roads, make intersection improvements and extend turn lanes.

    Another $100 million would go to seven corridor improvement projects that would include widening roads, adding sidewalks and bike paths, and synchronizing traffic signals.

    Some $36.5 million would go to 11 enhancement projects that would include repairs to roads, ditches or drainage, as well as new lights, curbs, landscaping and sidewalks.

    The plan also calls for $40 million for a parishwide traffic signal synchronization and communication system and new software to help better manage traffic.

    The list of projects is strikingly similar to those proposed last year by Mayor Kip Holden in his Green Light II plan, which was defeated by voters in December. Though Broome insisted at a press conference Monday that, “this is not Green Light 2 simply renamed,” many of the projects on the list are identical.

    Like Green Light II, Broome’s Better Transportation and Roads plan would widen Lee Drive, College Drive, Hoo Shoo Too Road, Wax Road, Mickens Road and Groom Road. Similarly, it would also build connectors between Ardenwood Drive and Lobdell Avenue, Hennessy Boulevard and Perkins Road and Essen Lane and Bluebonnet Boulevard.

    “It is Greenlight II,” says Councilman Buddy Amoroso. “At least, it’s very similar. But my initial reaction is very positive. There are a lot of projects on there that are very important to our community.”

    Unlike Greenlight II, Broome’s new plan includes $35 million for traffic signal upgrades and fiber connections and $5 million for software and equipment upgrades that would, in theory at least, improve traffic flow.

    Council members reached this afternoon say what while it’s too soon to predict how the plan may ultimately fare, at this point they’re inclined to introduce the measure so it can be put on next month’s meeting agenda for debate.

    This is an important enough issue in our community that it deserves debate,” says Councilman Dwight Hudson. “I have no problem with an introduction.”

    —Stephanie Riegel

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