Louisiana's I-49 OK'd for funding

| 7/18/2005

A plan to set aside money to complete Louisiana’s portion of Interstate 49 has been signed into law by Gov. Kathleen Blanco.

The new law allows as much as $15 million dollars annually from unclaimed property funds in the state to be used to help pay off loans to complete unfinished stretches of the interstate from New Orleans to the Arkansas border.

Unclaimed property funds are turned over to the state by businesses when the rightful private owners cannot be found.

Supporters of the new law, previously HB654, said the money borrowed through bonds would be used to lessen the need for federal dollars, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans reported. The total I-49 funding – which could be as much as $750 million – would be split evenly to the north and south portions.

Those stretches run north from I-20 in Shreveport to the Arkansas line and south from I-10 in Lafayette to the West Bank Expressway in New Orleans.

The revenue would be used for I-49 when the federal government puts up money for construction. Approval of the state Bond Commission would then be needed before the bonds could be sold.