Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Why this and why now?

Everybody here is wondering why there's so much momentum behind this particular highway project.  The best the people at this meeting can come up with is some vague combination of "corruption," "bureaucracy" and inertia.
Louisiana is also dealing with one of the largest budget deficits in state history, and many are perplexed as to why the Louisiana Department of Transportation is focusing on an expensive plan that is not only opposed by the community, but offers limited commercial value.

So the question remains, who benefits from the roadway's construction? Calhoun said he doesn't know, but wouldn't be surprised if "this is just more of Bobby Jindal's people getting money," referencing the rampant corruption in Louisiana politics. But he also suggested that perhaps this is just an infrastructure project that has floated around the state's bureaucracy for so long that it's attained a weight of its own, being pushed by nobody in particular, but advancing nonetheless. "I don't even think our elected officials have been told the real deal on this," he said. "They're trying to promote it just to promote it."

Ultimately, what many Ninth Ward residents say is most frustrating is that they feel ignored. Those attending the public meeting said they believe the state is withholding information and that even if they were fully informed, there isn't anything they can do to stop the project. Many saw the meeting as only a façade of public outreach, meant to check a bureaucratic box rather than truly hear and integrate community concerns.
But I think there must be something else in play.  I've got some ideas as to what it may be but I'd rather ask around before speculating. 

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