Decorative lights on Crescent City Connection remain off - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Decorative lights on Crescent City Connection remain off

New Orleans, La. -

Lights that outline the iconic span of the Crescent City Connection never came on Friday night.  Since the suspension of bridge tolls, funding for the decorative lights went away.

The standard safety bridge lights are still on but, without the decorative lights, the New Orleans skyline isn't quite what it used to be.

The Regional Planning Commission recently voted in favor of using about $5 million in transition funds to maintain the current level of services on the bridge, minus the decorative lighting.

"The YLC has a big interest in those lights… especially since our organization raised the funds to put them up over 20 years ago," said Richard Pavlick of the Young Leadership Council.

The YLC scrambled to find a way to keep the lights on.  They first reached out to the state Department of Transportation and Development.

"We've been trying to reach a solution and we were willing to put up funding for a limited time… until the end of May," Pavlick said.

He said DOTD told them the decorative lights would cost about $47 a day.  They also said the YLC would need a memorandum of understanding between DOTD and one of the municipalities: the RPC, Jefferson Parish or the City of New Orleans. 

That agreement was not reached in time.

DOTD told FOX 8 Friday night that decorative lighting is not a service offered by the department, and said it was a responsibility of the Regional Planning Commission.

The RPC told us that the YLC would have to work it out with the DOTD.

Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, whose citizens often use the CCC, believes scare tactics are being used.

"I mean, you heard some the statements from people in New Orleans," Nungesser said.  "Their taxes are going to go up. Why would somebody scare somebody into thinking their taxes are going to go up if the tolls come off?  Maybe some of the pet projects from some of the elected officials won't get funded."

Supporters of the tolls, though, say the bridge needs more care than the strapped state budget can provide.

Nungesser said he believes an agreement will be worked out soon.

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