Opinion: Randy Brown – Bossier-Caddo voters make the right move

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Bossier-Caddo voters make the right move

On Saturday April 9th, voters in Bossier and Caddo parishes voted in favor of renewing the 2.5 mills tax for the Port of Caddo-Bossier. This tax renewal is for another 25 year period of time.

Though turnout was very low in both Bossier and Caddo parishes, the tax renewal passed with approximately 60% of the vote. I applaud Bossier Caddo voters for making the right move.

As pointed out both in several articles and many editorial columns in our newspaper in the weeks leading up to the vote, this tax renewal was critical to the Port of Caddo-Bossier. Why?

Well, for starters, with the funds generated by this tax renewal, the Port of Caddo-Bossier will acquire an additional 3,500 acres of much needed land. This land will be used to expand the Port in order to ultimately secure either one (and quite possibly two) large manufacturers to our area. Wow! This means jobs, jobs and more jobs!

In the 21 years since the Port welcomed it’s first cargo load, more than 5 million tons of cargo has moved through the facility. The overall economic impact of both the direct and indirect jobs created by the Port area wide is exponential! There is absolutely no doubt about it folks, a vote in favor of this tax renewal was a vote for jobs! These additional jobs benefit our area immensely and move us ever so much closer to achieving the economic diversity that we have to have in order to remain somewhat resilient to the varying economic conditions that are present both within our state and within our country in this present day and time.

One thing has crossed my mind quite a bit lately is the fact that I-49 north will soon be opened from I-220 north all the way to Texarkana. Well, look at the opportunities there with goods being able to move quickly from the Port of Caddo-Bossier up to Texarkana and eventually, even further north as I-49 becomes complete in Arkansas and Missouri…and on up to Kansas City.

I have long said (and strongly advocate) promoting our area as a true distribution hub. With the Port of Caddo-Bossier, Interstate 20 (east/west), Interstate 49 (north /south) and the planned Interstate 69 (not to mention talk of making the Red River navigable to Texarkana), we are poised for tremendous economic growth.

All of these highway transportation systems and supporting infrastructure (in combination with our Port) and coupled with the fact that we are directly in the middle of a target zone which now contains over 20 million people within a 300 mile radius, means that our future as a productive economic engine is very bright!

With all of these transportation and navigation systems woking together in full harmony, there is little doubt that our area could be made into a real transportation and distribution hub for a myriad of goods. No doubt, we will soon see trucking companies, warehouses, etc popping up everywhere.

Wow! What a great future is in store for Northwest Louisiana! And one of the cornerstones of this bright future is the steadily growing Port of Caddo-Bossier. Again, voters most definitely got it right in voting to renew the critical tax. And again, I applaud your wise voting decision!

Randy Brown is Publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at rbrown@bossierpress.com