Saturday, April 20, 2024

Shreveport Chamber, Committee of 100 issue letter supporting I-49 Route 3A

by BIZ Magazine

The Greater Shreveport Chamber and the Shreveport-Bossier Committee of 100 have issued a letter of support for the completion of I-49.

The I-49 Corridor runs from Winnipeg, Canada, to Louisiana. However, there is a 3.5-mile gap in Shreveport/Bossier preventing the corridor from reaching Lafayette in south Louisiana. Advocates say that building the remaining 3.5 miles and completing the corridor will add north Louisiana jobs and provide an economic $800 million boost to the local Shreveport/Bossier economy via the redirection of travel routes.

But there has been debate on the route of construction and its potential for negative impact on neighborhoods of Shreveport, specifically the Allendale area.

As several community input meetings are being held throughout the city to help officials decide which route to take, the letter was issued. You can read it in full below:

“This letter is written on behalf of the Greater Shreveport Chamber and the Shreveport-Bossier Committee of 100.

The development of Interstate 49 has been a focus of our community, our state and our nation for more than 50 years. Together we have designed and invested in a roadway that links Shreveport-Bossier with the rest of the nation, offers the opportunity for expanded commerce and greater connectivity, and provides a gateway to our state from the north. The economic benefits of completing this roadway are substantial and they are clear.

What remains for us to do to realize these benefits is to complete this roadway by closing the 3.5-mile gap between I-20 and I-220. This gap delays the fulfillment of the economic promise for our community and hampers its utility to our nation.

The Chamber and Committee of 100, in concert with the municipalities and many other organizations across the region, have been steadfast in our determination that this roadway must be completed, and we have stated affirmatively and consistently that we believe that the shortest, most direct and least disruptove route through the city should be used to complete this roadway.

We recognize that the ongoing NEPA process requires significant due diligence regarding any environmental and cultural impacts of this construction and appreciate that another additional alternative has been proposed, Route 3A. Our groups are on record supporting the current locally preferred alternative, Route 1 through the city, as we believe it best conforms to the tripartite test of shortest, most direct and least disruptive.

However, in the event that Route 1 does not prove feasible, we firmly believe that a route through the city is critical to the completion of this project. Thus, we affirm our support for Route 3A should the confluence of factors explored by the NEPA process align to determine that Route 3A is the most feasible alternative.

Our focus and our concern have always been the completion of this vital roadway, and so today on behalf of the thousands of businesses and tens of thousands of employees we represent, we call upon NLCOG, SHPO and the Federal Highways Administration to act with all deliberate
speed to select either Route 1 or Route 3A and move with dispatch to finalize the Environmental Impact Statement, secure the Record of Decision and complete this project.

The way before us is clear and the time for action is now.”

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