LAA project seeking Blanco’s aid during session

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 25, 2005


Managing Editor

LAPLACE – With the 2005 Louisiana Legislative Session on the horizon, the Louisiana Airport Authority has stepped up its campaign to keep its operating funds and $3.7 million in other funding.

A resolution was passed Wednesday calling upon Gov. Blanco to continue her public support of the Louisiana Transportation Center and Airport, and that she takes action to support an amendment to the state budget bill to include the funds requested by the LAA.

The action took place at the LAA meeting Wednesday in LaPlace.

“We want to be able to sign with the Canadian Commercial Corporation,” LAA Chairman Glen Smith said. “This is not about land acquisition.”

The LAA and its consultant, URS Corporation, have conducted numerous studies regarding the location of the site, presently planned near Donaldsonville. Based on the outcome of the studies, the LAA board plans to proceed

During the public comment period at the meeting, residents Eric Johnson and Russell Jackson presented copies of a letter circulated in the Iberville, Ascension and Assumption parishes area, calling upon people to sign letters of support addressed to their local legislators.

Johnson added that even his son volunteered to circulate similar letters to area schoolchildren.

In a recent economic impact survey, LSU economist Dr. Loren Scott called the LAA project “the biggest and most significant economic boost to Louisiana in its history,” and estimated the creation of more than 60,000 new jobs, $40.1 billion in household earnings, $174.8 billion in new revenues for Louisiana businesses during a 40-year period, and in the first five years of the project, $495.7 million in household earnings, nearly 4,000 jobs and nearly $1.5 billion in regional earnings.

The LAA has entered into a protocol of intent with the Canadian Commercial Corporation toward mutual cooperation in development of the transportation center. The CCC has expressed its desire to design, build, fund and operate the LAA Airport.

Former Louisiana Attorney-General Richard Ieyoub addressed Wednesday’s meeting as well, and he called the project “a tremendous opportunity for new jobs and industry.”

Ieyoub added, “This project has no leaks in it at all. I don’t see a downside.”

Donaldsonville Mayor Leroy Sullivan added for the commission’s benefit that “our communities and parishes will benefit.”

Additionally, New Orleans attorney Phil C. Nugent expressed his desire to be the transportation center’s first tenant, developing a plant to build alternative-fuel automobiles, the plant to produce 400 jobs in time at a 100 square-foot plant.