TRIP, a national transportation research group, has released statistics regarding deteriorating pavement conditions in major cities. Baton Rouge received very poor ratings, which is no surprise to all of us riding on EBRP roads! 39% of our roads are rated poor, 25% medium, 19% fair, and only 16% good.
TRIP says this costs the average driver, YOU, $413 annually in additional vehicle operating costs due to poor road conditions and that the cost of road improvements has increased over 46% since 2004.
Yesterday the Metro Council voted to refinance the bond issue for Mayor-President Kip Holden’s Green Light Program (a $230 million bond issue for the city-parish’s half-cent sales tax which voters renewed in 1995. ) The refinancing was promoted by Holden’s administration because the insurer, Financial Guaranty, fell to “A” rating because Guaranty aggressively expanded their portfolio which has been affected by the sub-prime loan market.
I’m no mathematician, but the figures do not look good since Holden’s people claim construction costs are increasing more than 5% interest over and above the refinancing.
At last week’s Metro Council the actual figures for reissuing the bonds was $20 million per year, including $5 million per year interest. While the report claims this week that we are saving $100,000 in interest, it appears in reality this is costing the taxpayers fewer road improvements than anticipated, claiming this will only put $12 million to improve our roads on a pay-as-you-go basis. Metro Council member Wayne “Spider” Carter was the only one that spoke up last week over his concern in refinancing.
Mayor-President Kip Holden used the Green Light Program as his platform when running for office. Any way you cut it, this equates to a dent in the Green Light Program and slower progress for quality roads.
This is definitely another caution light for EBRP citizens and for Mayor-President’s Green Light Plan.
Until next time,
Red Stick Republican