Calcasieu projects in construction legislation

BATON ROUGE — Several Calcasieu Parish projects are included in the state’s capital construction bill, House Bill 2. It was approved 87-3 on Monday and sent to the Senate.

Unlike inflated state construction bills of past years, Rep. Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said this year’s legislation comes close to the amount of money the state can raise.

The House approved the borrowing of $629 million for continuing state and local projects. Completion of the Interstate 10 welcome center near the Texas border is included among the projects, with $928,500.

Projects with Priority 1 funding have the highest call on funding and were previously authorized and were granted cash lines of credit. Priority 2 projects are for those ready for completion of plans and specifications. Priority 3 are those preparing to outline early plans. Priority 4 and Priority 5 projects don’t require cash expenditures during the fiscal year.

General obligation bonds finance most of the projects, but some receive surplus funds from the state’s last two budget years — which are one-time funds.

The general obligation bonds total $1.75 billion to fund projects in Priorities 1, 2 and 5. The cash portion of the bill totals $1.68 billion, which comes from 10 sources. The grand total is $3.4 billion.

A number of bills have been filed this session aimed at making other reforms in the capital construction process. Some measures transfer the decision about which projects get funding from the governor’s Division of Administration to legislative money committees before being submitted to the State Bond Commission for final approval.

Here are the Calcasieu Parish projects, some of which have been in the bill for a number of years prior to completion:

McNeese State University, Americans with Disabilities Act upgrades campuswide, $1.5 million, Priority 1; Shearman Fine Arts Building renovation and addition, $1 million, Priority 1; Contraband Bayou erosion retaining wall, $1.73 million, Priority 5.

More McNeese, Alpha Hall renovations, $66,300, nonrecurring revenues; Frazar Memorial Library renovations and repairs, $346,500, nonrecurring revenues; campuswide elevator repairs, $3,150, nonrecurring revenues.

West Calcasieu Port, new bulkhead along Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, $200,000, Priority 1; land acquisition and rehabilitation of existing bulkhead, $1.3 million local match, $36,700, nonrecurring revenues.

Port of Lake Charles, dredging at district-owned facilities, $250,000, Priority 1; new administration building, $10,000, nonrecurring revenues.

Calcasieu Parish gravity sewer trunk mains and pumping stations, south Ward 3 and south Ward 4, $1.1 million, Priority 1, $2 million, Priority 2, and $2 million, Priority 5.

Lake Charles, lakefront development, $200,000, Priority 5; Enterprise Boulevard extension, $85,000, nonrecurring revenues; wastewater treatment plant, Plant B/C force main segment No. 2, $947,700, Priority 1, $5.5 million, Priority 5; infrastructure improvements for economic development, $2 million local match, $250,000, Priority 5; Riverside Park improvements, $10,000, nonrecurring revenues.

Sulphur, upgrade regional sewage pumping stations, Arizona Street and La. 108, $300,000, Priority 1, $2.4 million, Priority 5.

Westlake, police and emergency response facility, $1 million, Priority 1; new water well, $550,000, Priority 1.

Chennault International Airport Authority, new air cargo facility, $1.1 million local match, $350,000, Priority 1, $2.75 million, Priority 5; new aviation hangar and ground support equipment, $1 million local match, $260,000, Priority 1.

Ward 1 Gravity Drainage District 8, Belfield Ditch drainage improvement project, $910,000, Priority 1.

Calcasieu Waterworks District 10, new water system, $750,000, Priority 5.

Ward 3 Calcasieu Waterworks District 12, water system improvements, $496,600, Priority 1.

Houston River Waterworks District 11, Calcasieu Parish, elevated water tank and associated piping, $605,000, Priority 1.

Calcasieu Parish School Board, renovations to Lake Charles-Boston stadium, $177,000, Priority 1, $823,000, Priority 5.

Vinton, water treatment plant improvements, including rehabilitation of elevated water storage tank, site and electrical improvements, $26,800, nonrecurring revenues; reconstruction of Big Woods Road, $7,500, nonrecurring revenues.