Rep. Gabe Firment did not have much good news about rural roads when he spoke at the Parish Council meeting Monday. Firment represents a part of Natchitoches Parish that runs from Goldonna to Point Place. “There’s not a magic formula,” he said about getting more money for road maintenance.
The State has a $15 billion backlog of road and bridge requests. A good first step is to get projects into the State Capital Outlay program. Parish Government compiles a list of proposed Capital Outlay requests that now includes $4.2 million to resurface Hart Road, $6 million for Goldonna Road, $1.7 million for Pardee Road, and $603,000 for Blanchard Road. Just because the roads are listed does not mean they will be funded.
While there could be some money from the COVID-19 Cares Act, it won’t be enough to meet State needs. A La. DOTD contract was let Monday for resurfacing of La. Hwy. 6 from La 504 to La. Hwy 1 for $3.6 million. On another matter, Firment said Natchitoches is scheduled to receive $13 million for broadband internet service.
The Segnem Egere Consortium won the contract to wire 54,430 locations in 22 parishes including Natchitoches. Firment said the upcoming legislative session will be a fiscal one with members limited to five general bills. One bill that will affect Natchitoches calls for centralized sales tax collections and will be introduced by Speaker of the House Clay Schexnayder.
Firment said he gets calls every day from his constituents about the bill. “It will be difficult to vote against something the speaker of the house brings,” he said. There will be a meeting March 29 in Alexandria about the bill and he encourages everyone to attend. He will send details of the meeting to Parish President John Richmond. Firment, a former insurance claims adjuster, will file five insurance reform bills relating to policyholders negotiating with insurance companies.