Capital outlay: Bossier projects looking for state funding - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Capital outlay: Bossier projects looking for state funding

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Moving Bossier  forward would be impossible without some help from state.

Each year city officials  develop a wish list of construction projects they say are necessary for growth. 

"One is the Highway 71 lighting project which would add approximately 80 new light fixtures on the section of Highway 71 which is Barksdale Boulevard," said Pam Glorioso, projects coordinator for Bossier City.

Glorioso says it will cost $780,000 to brighten up this section of Barksdale Boulevard, which serves a rapidly growing area. The city  is requesting $390,000 -- half the cost -- from the state during the current legislative session. The city is also asking for funds to expand the Cyber Innovation Center in what is called Capital Outlay.

"These funds will hopefully allocate more funds for the planning of a second building to be located at the CIC property,'' said Craig Spohn, director for the center which targets knowledge-based industry in its technologically state of the art facility. The new structure would house future tenants.

 "We're going to ask put in about $31 million and we're asking the state for another $24 million. So all in it will be about a $55 million complex.''  

Right now Spohn's uncertain the funds will be available for this project. That's unlike 2008, when a state surplus allowed Gov. Bobby Jindal to commit $50 million to get the cyber center off the ground.

"My confidence level is very low just based on what I'm hearing coming out of the session right now through the lack of availability of capital outlay dollars, the state's ability to fund capital outlay giving the relatively difficult economic times that the state is in is going to produce a lot of unfunded programs and I believe ours will be one of them." One local lawmaker noted the list of construction projects statewide exceeded available funds by $70 million.

Spohn says the lack of money from the state won't stop the project, with construction slated to begin this fall.

"It will slow us down some; I think that we're going to stay on schedule, But we will have to identify and commit other revenue streams to the bond market that we would rather have had unattached for discretionary purposes in order to continue to proceed with construction."

The Bossier Parish Police Jury also is looking for a boost. Parish Engineer Butch Ford says funds are being sought to help build the new north south corridor that will take pressure off Airline Drive and Benton Road.

"We also made application this last year for the construction dollars, Twenty million dollars for it and so we're hoping to secure some help through the state for that."

The parish's other big project is Sewer District 1...the $45 million  project will consolidate over 30 sewage ponds and private sewage plants between Red Chute Bayou and Highway 157.

"The sewer plant is the biggest amount that we received to date, the largest amount that we received to date around $15 million," said Ford.

He adds there's an advantage to getting these dollars.

"You don't have to pay them back..it's ‘here take this money and make these improvements.'"

And if the state fails to help this time, Ford says, "We go back again the next year and ask for, continue asking for help for it, it's continuing until we decide that we find other funding sources to help with it."

The construction budget, or House Bill 2, has been approved by the House of Representatives and now awaits Senate action. State Rep. Henry Burns, R-Bossier City, believes many of the Bossier projects are safe for now, but there are two weeks left in the session. The Legislature must conclude by May 6.


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