‘LaPolitics’: New transportation-focused group meets

As first reported in Business Report last fall, politicos and civic activists have spent the past few months creating a new transportation-focused group called Build Right to help conservative officials prioritize infrastructure issues—and its first public event was held two weeks ago. 

The new group didn’t directly engage with the transportation-related legislation that’s driving the regular session, but its leaders plan to be at the table for the next round of talks. Build Right chair Charlie Davis says several stakeholders attended last month’s meeting, including but not limited to Louisiana Family Forum President Gene Mills, Republican Party Chair Louis Gurvich and GOP state Rep. Neil Riser of Columbia.

“Traffic is anti-family,” Davis says. “Working moms and dads are being deprived of the precious time they have to spend with their children before and after school because, instead of spending quality time together, they’re stuck in traffic.”

Build Right seeks to “unite conservatives to prioritize flood prevention, the building of roads and bridges and other important infrastructure needs,” according to a press release. 

“There is absolutely a need for this type of organization to become involved in public works decisions,” pollster Bernie Pinsonat says. “As evidenced in the Baton Rouge area alone, lack of action by public officials on the diversion canal, the Mississippi River bridge and flooding prevention means that we need new people involved in finding solutions.”

—U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy has reintroduced the Shelter Act to help Americans protect their homes or businesses against natural disasters such as wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and drought. The Shelter Act would create a first-of-its-kind disaster mitigation tax credit for working families and small business owners in disaster-prone areas. “The best way to recover from a flood is never flooding at all,” Cassidy says. “Every family or business owner can reduce their property’s chance of flooding. This legislation empowers them to do so.”

They said it: “If you don’t like it, then it’s a hijacking. If you do like it, then it’s a ‘good job.'”—State Sen. Rick Ward, R-Port Allen, explaining the duality of amendments in the policymaking process, while defending his own amendment to increase funding for roads and bridges. 

Jeremy Alford publishes LaPolitics Weekly, a newsletter on Louisiana politics, at LaPolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter, or on Facebook. He can be reached at JJA@LaPolitics.com.