SHREVEPORT, La. – Regional leaders and stakeholders along with industry and economic development partners attended a regional meeting of Governor John Bel Edwards’ Task Force on Transportation Infrastructure Investment on Monday.
Hosted by the Northwest Louisiana Economic Partnership and the Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments, the meeting was held at the BHP Billiton in Shreveport.
The group is co-chaired by DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson, Ph.D., and Major General John Basilica, vice president and Gulf Coast district leader for HNTB Corporation. Also attending the meeting were: Ken Naquin, CEO of the Louisiana Association of General Contractors and former member of the Legislature’s 2014 Transportation Funding Task Force; Ann Trappey, Chairman of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber board; and Greg Morrison, Commercial Trucking Executive.
“We’re going to have this conversation all over the state because the infrastructure we build is for our communities,” said Dr. Wilson. “This is an important step in a very critical and necessary process. With sound and sustainable policy, DOTD can and will deliver a transportation system the people of Louisiana deserve.”
Understanding the reality of a multi-billion dollar backlog in transportation needs, Governor Edwards announced the Task Force in June 2016 in order to focus on ways to reinvest in our roads, bridges, and ports, and re-engage federal partners.
“Today’s meeting was a demonstration of the economic value that Northwest Louisiana sees in transportation,” said Morrison. “We have a lot that can go right for us in Shreveport-Bossier and all over this state, but our transportation system is holding us back. The clear message today was that our communities are ready to do something about it.”
Morrison served as chairman of Governor Edwards’ transition committee on transportation and was appointed as an At-Large member of the task force. He is associated with Quality Transport of Bossier City and Baton Rouge, and has spent more than 30 years in the commercial trucking industry.
The duties of the task force include researching, identifying, and making specific actionable recommendations for achieving sufficient increased levels of recurring funding to address the transportation backlog in highway and bridge maintenance needs in Louisiana. The task force will make recommendations to Governor Edwards to improve infrastructure in the state.
“As a Shreveport-Bossier native and the first Commissioner of Multimodal Commerce at DOTD, I was very pleased to hear the commitment this region has for multimodal transportation, particularly passenger rail,” Commissioner Tommy Clark said. “Northwest Louisiana and the whole state have very promising prospects for an integrated multimodal transportation system.”