CCC toll talk dominates lawmakers' hearing - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

CCC toll talk dominates lawmakers' hearing

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State lawmakers hosted a town hall-style meeting Tuesday night in Marrero to focus on issues facing lawmakers in the upcoming legislative session.  While there were several topics on the agenda, concerns about the future of the Crescent City Connection and the toll vote coming up on May 4 dominated the meeting. 

Transportation officials attended the meeting to answer questions from an overwhelming anti-tolls crowd. Some wanted to know exactly how the toll money has been spent. Others said the DOTD is responsible for maintaining the CCC at an acceptable level. 

If the tolls don't pass on May 4, the DOTD will maintain the bridge at the same level all other bridges in the state are maintained. That would mean no decorative lighting, no trash can service and reduced lawn maintenance.  

State Rep. Chris Leopold told the crowd he plans to introduce two pieces of legislation that could impact funding for CCC maintenance. One is an effort to keep more local tax dollars in the local area instead of having the money end up in the State Transportation Trust Fund. 

Pat Hand, attorney for the group Stop the Tolls, questioned DOTD officials about the decorative lights on the bridge over the Mississippi River.  He asked about a document in which he says the state committed to keeping the decorative lights on after the Young Leadership Council paid to install them in the 80's.

DOTD officials say they have not been able to find such a document and, without a dedicated revenue stream, they will not keep the lights. 

While there is no long-term solution on the horizon for enhanced CCC maintenance, the decorative lights could be back on soon. The Young Leadership Council has indicated that it has secured temporary funding. Now all that is left is reaching a cooperative agreement on the issue.

Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts wants the Regional Planning Commission to call a special meeting to approve the acceptance of a donation from the YLC. 

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