Lanes for Change Program takes heat in D'Ville

DeRon Talley

The Donaldsonville Rotary Club weren't receptive of the initial idea of the "Lanes for Change" Program presented to them last Thursday at Café Lafourche.

The purpose of the "Lanes for Change" Program is to address the traffic congestion in unincorporated areas of the parish. It can only be used for construction, acquisition, improvements and maintenance of roads and bridges in the parish.

The program was presented to the Rotary Club by: Kent Schexnaydre, council 2, Michael Songy, principal with SCRS, INC. and Ken Dawson Chief Executive Assistant, all of Ascension Parish.

"Is it a perfect plan? No it is not," said Songy. "There is no perfect plan, but it is a plan we think has very good merit to get the parish to begin the process to take care of (its) own problems."

The three presenters of the "Lanes for Change" Program showed the Rotary Club the roads the program plans to improve, starting with Airline Highway.

Donaldsonville native and business owner, Robyn Delaney, interrupted the presentation with a question. She said, "Looking at this list, what's on it for us? My concern is, what's in it for the West bank?"

The program would be funded by a ½ percent sales tax for 25 years that will be affecting the Donaldsonville citizens' pockets, but they want to see road improvements too.

In respond to Delaney's question, Schexnaydre said that if we don't do something now then Ascension Parish is just going to come to a halt.

"We are working extremely hard on a West Bank Expressway," Schexnaydre said. "It is closer now than it has ever been."

Delaney said she's heard of several projects that have been proposed for the West Bank, but they all have been "killed," including a West Bank Expressway.

"I can't speak for everybody but I'm looking for something immediate."

But Delaney wasn't just speaking for herself. Others of the club began to ask how can you expect us to vote for this tax if all we get is no on this side of the river?

The discussions continued between the sides, with the club members mentioning roads on their side of the river that need work done now, and Schexnaydre and Songy trying to explain why the need for work to be done is greater on the other side.

The tax proposal will go before voters on Nov. 6. There was a meeting held yesterday at Dutchtown High School and another will be held today Oct. 25 at the St. Amant Recreation Center at 6 p.m. It is open to the public.

The voters should know that the use of the funds are very specific.

Schexnaydre added: "If we don't free up some of that money that we have now, then we can't ever be able to get anything done."