Possible DOTD consolidation

By Adam Hooper - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - You can add transportation to the list of things the economy is influencing. The DOTD administrative office in Lake Charles could close.

According to the local DOTD and the main office in Baton Rouge it would not change much. Current road construction and daily operations of the DOTD would continue, right here in Lake Charles. But, the administrative office would be the one to go.

Secretary William Ankner of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has a proposal on the table that would consolidate Louisiana's nine transportation districts into seven.

"Most of the work that is done in Lake Charles will continue to be done, the construction, the maintenance work. The big change would be the administrative offices. The administrative offices would move to Lafayette," said Bobby Hennigan, District 7 DOTD Administrator.

This means, because of the economy, people like Bobby Hennigan, and others that work on the business side, could be out of a job.

"As a result of the budget crisis, this is something that the secretary has looked at to reduce costs," said Bobby Hennigan.

"We started looking at ways to be more efficient and effective with the public resources. One of the concepts was to look at the consolidation of the districts," said William Ankner, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

With the plan of consolidation on the table, secretary Ankner called a meeting with state legislators to get their opinion of his proposal.

"Secretary Ankner is proposing closing a district office. We are opposed to that happening," said Louisiana State Senator Willie Mount.

"He got our feedback, and it was a resounding no. We don't like this. We understand that you have to make cuts, we know it will be tough, but we don't believe this is the most efficient way to do this," said Louisiana State Representative Brett Geymann.

The plan to consolidate can be done without legislative approval, but the legislator is responsible for approving his budget. As it stands now, this plan will not have much support.

"I will vote no to this. If they try to do it, I will try to amend it back out, if I have to," said Rep. Geymann.

"Everyone will tell you that we have to find a way to run government more efficiently and effectively. The debate is, is this more efficient. We don't think so," said Senator Mount.

Senator Mount,  Representative Geymann, and other legislators said they will continue to work with secretary Ankner to try and find a different way to cut costs.

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