Airport Authority nears signing of pact with state

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 23, 2006


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – The status of the Louisiana Airport Authority and their Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the State of Louisiana in building a 25,000-acre Transportation Center just outside of Donaldsonville headed up the topics at the monthly LAA meeting.

Involving four separate modes of transportation – roads, rail, water and air – the proposed Louisiana Transport Center is slowly moving to becoming a reality.

&#8220We’ve been working with the state to narrow down the endeavor agreement,” said LAA Chairman Glen Smith. &#8220I urge everybody to stay focused.”

The state is not the only entity the LAA is counting on money from. The Canadian Commercial Corporation, a group which works in global market places to promote opportunities for Canadian businesses, is also interested in helping the rebuilding process of Louisiana which the Transportation Center will play a large role in.

&#8220Canadians see the project as more important than before because of the Louisiana rebuilding process,” Smith said. &#8220There is nothing faster to help than this endeavor because of the Canadian backing.”

Richard House, of the Executive Council of Louisiana Economic Development hopes the agreement will be signed within the next ten days.

&#8220There is no intention to delay things or have a massive rewrite,” House said referring to the Cooperative Endeavor Agreement. &#8220If anything it’s been made more simple so we can move forward.”

Randy Topel, Senior Vice President of First Southwest Financial of Fort Worth, Texas was also in attendance to discuss a new transportation bill that would benefit the financial supporters of the Transportation Center.

The Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, or SAFETEA-LU transportation bill, allows for bonds to be purchased for the benefit of businessmen to allow lower financing for profit according to Topel.

&#8220It’s good for the Canadians because they can accelerate the rail portion of this project by tax exempt finances through this program,” Topel said. &#8220It is something that’s needed, not hurricane related, and beneficial for the entire United States.”

The next meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m., Feb. 16 at the LAA office, LaPlace.