State treasurer John Kennedy said last week in Lafayette that “the I-49 south project is the single most important infrastructure project in the state”. I-49 south, about a 160 mile run from the Pontchartrain expressway to Lafayette.
The new interstate would essentially run where US 190 presently exists. New Orleans Westbank through Raceland, Morgan City, Franklin, New Iberia, to Lafayette. Kennedy thinks if the interstate was completed, the Westbank would explode. Massive growth all along the new I-49 south corridor. It better be. At a price tag of somewhere between $3-6 billion, most are wondering how we can pay for it. Kennedy knows. He says use one time monies, like the nearly $200 million in projected state surplus.
Those funds can only be used for certain things like capital outlay, which includes highway construction. Tolls and taxes would also help fund the massive project. The federal matching money would obviously be significant too, like 4 or 5 times what the state would have to ante up. John Kennedy is right. Linking New Orleans to Lafayette via I-49 would be tremendous. Not just for New Orleans but for all of southeastern Louisiana. It should be a priority.