Everybody got a plan ’til they get hit in the mouth-“Iron” Mike Tyson
The knockout punch in HNTB’s $800,000 Master Transportation Plan was the $1.25 BILLION price-tag to fix East Ascension’s broken transportation network. 64 recommended projects, none of them funded, were enough stagger visitors to the Governmental Complex on Thursday, punch drunk as the dire reality of Ascension’s road network sank into the semi-consciousness.
And the prohibitive cost projection omitted the engineering firm’s fantastical recommendation to build a bridge across the Mississippi River linking Geismar (east bank) to the sugar cane fields of Modeste (west bank).
“We spent $800,000 on the plan?” asked Parish Council candidate Michael Mason incredulously. “I can’t help thinking that money could have been better spent upgrading some of our unsafe parish roads. There are several in District 11.”
Mason, who’d seen enough after 30 minutes, conceded the need for a plan, “but it needs to be realistic. Let’s start with the question of funding.” He went on to stress the need to revise the Unified Land Development Code “to ensure future development pays to offset even greater strain on our already overwhelmed road infrastructure.”
Mason pointed out that five of the last seven residential subdivisions approved by Ascension’s Planning Commission are located within the boundaries of District 11 where he hopes to unseat the incumbent, Benny Johnson.
Another council challenger was not so kind…
“A pipe-dream, a total waste of time and taxpayer dollars,” was District 10 hopeful Jeff Pettit’s take on HNTB’s work product.
“Might as well have kept the new Mississippi River bridge in since none of it is ever going to be built,” Pettit quipped.
For what it’s worth ($800,000?) here’s the HNTB Project List: