Interstate 49 South Project Task Force
WHEREAS, U.S. Highway 90 (hereafter "U.S. 90") is one of the state of Louisiana's major links to the Gulf of Mexico, and a main corridor for access to oil and gas operations in the central gulf's outer continental shelf, petro-chemical industries along the Mississippi River, and waterborne freight en route to the central United States;
WHEREAS, over thirty-six percent (36%) of the population of the state of Louisiana resides in the vicinity of U.S. 90 between Interstate 10 (hereafter "I-10") in Lafayette and the Westbank Expressway in New Orleans; as a consequence, the four-laned highway is the primary hurricane evacuation route for South Louisiana;
WHEREAS, it is a priority for the state of Louisiana to prepare for the twenty-first century by promoting economic growth and development through the provision of a transportation system adequate to support new economic activity with its increase in traffic volume, encourage international and domestic commerce, promote tourism, and improve public safety; and
WHEREAS, the interests of the citizens of the state of Louisiana would be best served by the continuation of the Interstate 49 South Project Task Force in order to complete its analysis of upgrading U.S. 90 into an interstate and evaluating the impact it would have on the general populace of the state, particularly those living in South Louisiana;
NOW THEREFORE I, KATHLEEN BABINEAUX BLANCO, Governor of the state of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and laws of the state of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:
SECTION 1: The Interstate 49 South Project Task Force (hereafter "Task Force") is reestablished within the Executive Department, Office of the Governor.
SECTION 2: The duties and functions of the Task Force shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
A. Assisting the Department of Transportation and Development in the completion of the environmental decision making process for the remaining studies in progess; and
B. Documenting the level of support for the I-49 South Project by 1) the citizens of the state of Louisiana living in the various geographical sections of the state of Louisiana, 2) the Metropolitan Planning Organizations in the areas surrounding U.S. 90 between I-10 in Lafayette and the Westbank Expressway in New Orleans, and 3) the members of the Louisiana Legislature.
SECTION 3: A. By March 1, 2005, the Task Force shall submit a comprehensive report on the issues set forth in Section 2 of this Order to the governor, the House Committee on Transportation, Highways, and Public Works, and the Senate Committee on Transportation, Highways, and Public Works.
B. The Task Force shall also submit documentation to the governor by March 1, 2005, suitable for submission to the members of the state of Louisiana's United States Congressional Delegation, supporting the reasons for extending Interstate 49 south from Lafayette to New Orleans.
SECTION 4: The Task Force shall meet at regularly scheduled intervals and at the call of the chair.
SECTION 5: The Task Force shall be composed of a maximum of twenty-three (23) members who, unless otherwise specified, shall be appointed by, and serve at the pleasure of the governor. The membership of the Task Force shall be selected as follows:
A. The governor, or the governor's designee;
B. The secretary of the Department of Transportation and Development, or the secretary's designee;
C. The chair of the House Committee on Transportation, Highways, and Public Works, or the chair's designee;
D. The chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation, Highways, and Public Works, or the chair' s designee;
E. The Federal Highway Administrator for the state of Louisiana, or the Federal Highway Administrator's designee;
F. Representatives from communities located along the span of U.S. 90 between the Westbank Expressway in New Orleans and I-10 in Lafayette;
G. Representatives of businesses in South Louisiana;
H. Representatives of the Lafayette, Houma, and New Orleans Metropolitan Planning Organizations;
I. A representative of the farming community, who resides in Louisiana, whose principal business is farming; and
J. Two (2) at-large members.
SECTION 6: The chair of the Task Force shall be appointed by the governor from the membership of the Task Force. All other officers, if any, shall be elected by the members of the Task Force from its membership.
SECTION 7: A. Task Force members shall not receive additional compensation or a per diem from the Office of the Governor for serving on the Task Force.
B. Task Force members who are employees or elected public officials of the state of Louisiana or a political subdivision thereof may seek reimbursement of travel expenses, in accordance with PPM 49, from their employing and/or elected department, agency and/or office.
C. Task Force members who are also members of the Louisiana Legislature may seek a per diem from the Louisiana State Senate or House of Representatives, as appropriate, for their attendance.
SECTION 8: Support staff, facilities, and resources for the Task Force shall be provided by the Department of Transportation and Development.
SECTION 9: All departments, commissions, boards, offices, entities, agencies, and officers of the state of Louisiana, or any political subdivision thereof, are authorized and directed to cooperate with the Task Force in implementing the provisions of this Order.
SECTION 10: This Order is effective upon signature and shall continue in effect until amended, modified, terminated, or rescinded by the governor, or terminated by operation of law.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of Louisiana, at the Capitol, in the city of Baton Rouge, on this 20th day of August, 2004.
Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
Secretary of State