Durel Talks I-49 Extension Toll Road – Lafayette Live
Recent political activity at the local, state, and national levels have many believing the long rumored I-49 extension through Lafayette Parish could finally be a reality. The resurrection of the project has also brought with it critics and detractors. Many of those criticisms were levied during yesterday's Wingin' It Wednesday. City-Parish President Joey Durel joined ‘Nathan and Bernie in the Morning‘ for his weekly ‘Lafayette Live‘ segment to discuss the I-49 project.
"In order to get this on the radar of the federal government is you had to have a purpose and need," said Durel. "The single purpose and need that got this on their radar was traffic."
Durel along with other Lafayette representatives at the state and federal level have been meeting in Washington to lobby for the project, and though traffic is the main selling point, it is not the only benefit. The extension would also serve as an additional hurricane evacuation route as well as connect some of the nation's largest energy ports.
This is not just a Lafayette thing. This is for all of South Louisiana. 30-percent of America’s energy comes up that corridor through Port Fourchon and all the ports along highway 90. All those things are important. - Joey Durel
Tolls starting at 18-cents per mile have been suggested to pay for the nearly $3 billion project. The suggestion of turning the project into a toll road has been met with much criticism, however Durel remains firm in his belief in the project.
"Traffic engineers have told us there is no other single project in Lafayette that could be done to affect the traffic more than I-49 south," said Durel.
For the audio, click the play button below: