Calcasieu jurors meet with state lawmakers

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -Interstate 210 and Nelson is a place of frequent traffic congestion and it will no doubt only get worse once the Sugarcane Bay Casino Resort opens. State representative Chuck Kleckley says improvements are needed. "If you've got a cluster where people can't move around then they're not going to go or they're going to go somewhere else." Kleckley told Calcasieu Police Jurors about the bill he proposes to dedicate a part of future gaming revenues from Sugarcane Bay to pay for improvements that might otherwise be many years down the road."

If we continue to wait on the state those roads will never be their yearly meet with lawmakers to discuss the current session jurors also talked about the I-10 Bridge and whether the legislature can help. Says Representative A.B. Franklin, "There's no money set aside and I questioned that yesterday. When we first started it was like $156 million to build the bridge. Then it went to $258 million. Now last I heard it was $457 million so the longer we wait the more it's going to cost."

And Franklin too is concerned about lights on the bridge. "It is dangerous. And I can tell you one thing, I've crossed that bridge several times at night. One night I was crossing that bridge and I almost ran over a tire because it's so dark up there. Good thing no other traffic was coming."

One juror brought up sewage. Says Shannon Spell, "We're looking at a $415 million problem."

And they got a quick update on budget cuts. There may be challenges for McNeese. And Brett Geymann says while Moss Regional isn't being cut there is a half million dollars being taken from the residency program at Memorial that supplies doctors for Moss. "So while Moss didn't really take a hit we're going to have a more difficult time servicing them unless we can restore some of that money." Says juror Francis Andrepont, "That's what I was afraid of. But it's not all bad news.  Says State Representative Mike Danahay, "The TOPS program I think is okay. I think Governor Jindal and his staff and the legislature consider it an investment."

The session resumes Monday.

Also, jurors intend to adopt FEMA flood maps when they meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 7.
To view proposed maps stop by the Calcasieu Government Building or click here.