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The Bridge Watch:  " News " "Parkway bill sets bad precedent"
Morning Advocate May 18, 2001

A bill making its way through the legislative process would give state highway officials the authority to buy land for a highway before the need for the land is established.

The bill, apparently designed to speed construction of the so-called Zachary Taylor Parkway, would set a dangerous precedent and could result in the state obtaining land it does not need.

The parkway is a proposed 210-mile road from Alexandria east through the Felicianas to Poplarville, Miss., with a bridge crossing the Mississippi River near St. Francisville.

The bridge has engendered much of the controversy over the road. Some residents of the area want it to cross the river north of St. Francisville, others through St. Francisville and others south of the town.

Until the exact location of the bridge and road is pinpointed, the state should not be acquiring property for the construction project. Too much could go wrong.

The bill, HB1712 by Rep. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, has been approved by the House with little fanfare. Itís the kind of "local" measure that often slips through the process without notice.

We hope it doesnít escape notice when it is considered on the Senate floor. The bill sets a dangerous precedent and could lead to a situation in which tax dollars are wasted.

West Feliciana Citizens BridgeWatch