Jones lauds infrastructure gains

Rep. Sam Jones, (Dist. 50, D-Franklin) says his “marquis bill” during the last state legislative session was an economic development district in Morgan City.
“We got that done,” he said. “It’s a very good tool for them to use. The mayor and council have good plans for it. We definitely need housing development to keep up with the demand…this is a tool for them and other economic developments and efforts.”
Jones said he supported a bill by Rep. Joe Harrison to reform insurance rates in Louisiana, which was unsuccessful, but said that the local delegation’s efforts in that area will continue.
He introduced a bill to give a cost of living adjustment to retired state employees including state police, of 1.5 percent. “My bill didn’t advance,” he said, “but Senate bills did and covered the same thing.”
Installation of a signal light on U.S. 90 near Cameron Ironworks in Patterson was one of Jones’ efforts. “They’ve gone from about 200 people to 650 people and growing,” he said. “There needs to be some serious traffic control there. Well, I was called this week and I think my annual veto is going to be that bill.”
He said that the administration and DOTD wants such measures to be handled administratively not legislation. Jones said he hopes the effort at least “got us on the radar.”
There is also a need of a signal near Catherine Street on the highway, he said.
Jones said the delegation in the area “has done a really good job getting infrastructure money to the parish. If you’re going to compete for business…you have to have the infrastructure and the facilities.”
He pointed to the new Port of Morgan City office with $13.1 million in capital outlay funds. “We need to be bold, we need to be out there and we need to be aggressive” to attract business.
Jones said development of the land along the Charenton Navigation and Drainage Canal has happened by leaps and bounds, and work on the industrial park site is continuing.
Survey work is complete for the overpass at La. 318 and purchase of property will begin soon, followed by bids. “Then we can turn our attention to the problems we have in Patterson and Berwick,” Jones said.
Jones also mentioned drainage work on La. 70, a new drainage pumping system in Bayou Vista and overlay of La. 182 from Jeanerette to Adeline and La. 87 from Charenton to Oaklawn.
The parish and Chitimacha Tribe are collaborating on overlay of Ralph Darden Memorial Parkway, Jones said.
“This is the first time in three years I voted for the Minimum Foundation Formula,” Jones said. “They took the growth factor out of it, but I voted for it because it has an additional $7 million for public schools. It left everything intact.”

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