The effort to form the coalition, a non-profit group, is being led by state Sen. Bret Allain, R-Franklin. Allain held an initial organizational meeting on Jan. 29 in Patterson. Representatives from chambers of commerce, economic development groups and other organizations were invited to that meeting.
The safety of people traveling along what is currently U.S. 90 and what would become I-49, improving the roadway to interstate quality, from Lafayette to New Orleans is “the No. 1 reason for doing this,” Allain said at the Jan. 29 meeting.
As of the organizational meeting, the estimated cost of completing the project is roughly $4.5 billion to $5 billion, Allain said.
The coalition’s aim is to advocate for, promote and find funding for the completion of I-49 South from Lafayette to New Orleans, according to Allain’s presentation.
After the initial stakeholders meeting Tuesday, members will elect 10 board members from the eastern part of the coalition and 10 board members from the western part of the coalition.
The coalition will have three membership levels. A citizen’s membership requires a $50 minimum investment and will receive updates on the coalition throughout the year. A stakeholder’s membership requires a $500 minimum investment with one toward the election of the board. Members must at least have a stakeholder’s membership to be eligible to be elected to the board.
The highest level of membership is a champion’s membership requires a $2,000 minimum investment and gives members at this level a maximum of two votes toward the election of the board.