The Bossier Parish Police Jury honored two state senators Wednesday for their efforts to get a new entrance to Barksdale Air Force Base.
Senators Ryan Gatti (R-Bossier City) and Barrow Peacock (R-Bossier City) were presented certificates of appreciation by Police Jury President Doug Rimmer for their help in securing funds for the extension of I-20/220 onto Barksdale Air Force Base.
“The great work that these two men have done for us here in Bossier Parish not only impacts the state, but it impacts the whole nation. It impacts Barksdale Air Force Base, which is not only precious to us, precious to our area, but it’s precious to the United States,” said Rimmer.
Peacock said the entrance is an example of cooperation among the military, state government, city government and parish government.
“This is an example of everybody coming together. It’s important that this is done for our community to show the nation how much we value the airmen and women at Barksdale and what they provide for our country,” Peacock said.
He added that it can be an example of projects yet to come.
“We’re going to do the Jimmy Davis Bridge, we’re going to finish I-49, and we’re going to continue to make improvements.”
Gatti called the project an economic development project, noting he talked to a business owner near the I-20/220 junction who told Gatti that he had “just built a city of 16,000 people next to my restaurant.”
Once the project is completed, around thousands of acres east of the base’s primary operations areas will be open to future development.
“We’re going to see some expansive growth in Haughton, Doyline, and north Bossier,” Gatti forecasted. “Secondarily, it’s infrastructure. But we were able to put all those things together so that we can grow the economy in Bossier.”
He noted that there were some bumps along the road, but they continued to fight and thanked Peacock, Bossier Chamber of Commerce President Lisa Johnson, Parish Administrator Bill Altimus, and Bossier Parish Engineer Butch Ford for their efforts to show unity.
Gatti summed it up as a “big deal.”
“There were three projects that were funded through the GARVEE bonds. One was the widening of I-10 in Baton Rouge, one was an exit to the international airport in New Orleans. This was the only other project that was funded.”
The $71.8 million project had been a part of the state’s Transportation Master Plan for many years, but had no environmental clearance or funding source identified. In January 2018, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), moved to utilize Grant Anticipation Revenue (GARVEE) bonds for funding and utilized the design-build method of project delivery that expedites project delivery by combining the design and construction phases.
The project broke ground in May this year.