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Project Profile: Green Light Plan

Green Light Plan

photo credit: CSRS Inc.

Location

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Project Sponsor / Borrower

East Baton Rouge City-Parish

Program Areas

Project FinanceValue Capture

Value Capture Techniques Sales Tax Districts
Mode

Local Road

Description

Facing greater traffic congestion within the Parish in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the City of Baton Rouge/East Baton Rouge Parish introduced the Green Light Plan in October 2006. The plan encompasses 42 road improvement projects in the Parish, including new roads, widenings, traffic signalization upgrades and synchronization, Complete Streets initiatives, and intersection improvements.

In 2005, voters approved an extension of a half-cent sales tax for local street and roadway improvements and gave the City/Parish the ability to bond future revenue. Seventy percent of the resulting sales tax revenue is devoted to transportation improvements. This has enabled the City/Parish to issue over $300 million in bonds and begin projects proactively, rather than waiting until sufficient tax revenues became available. The revenue from the sales tax millage allowed the local government to embark upon the most significant transportation improvement program in the Parish's history. The tax will remain in effect until 2030.

A proposal to extend the existing tax through 2046 and initiate a new $452 million Green Light Plan 2 failed in a December 2016 referendum.

Cost

$700 million

Funding Sources

Sales tax revenue bonds - $316 million

Sales tax revenue (pay-as-you go) and federal and state funding - $384 million

Project Delivery / Contract Method

Design-bid-build

Private Partner

None

Project Advisors / Consultants

Program Management

  • CSRS - Program Management (Lead Consultant)
  • PBS&J (now Atkins) - Project Management Support
  • GOTECH - Project Management -
  • Neel-Schaffer - Traffic Engineering
  • John Doiron Real Estate Services - Real Estate Consultant
  • Rampart Resources Inc. - Real Estate Acquisition Agent
  • SSA Consultants, LLC - Community Relations and Minority Participation
  • Compliance Consultants - Environmental Consultant

In total, about 90 firms have been involved in program delivery - right-of-way, design, construction, and support services.

Lenders

Bondholders

Duration / Status
  • As of 2018, 30 of 42 projects completed and open to traffic.
Financial Status / Financial Performance

Bonds will mature in 2030. Available bond money has been expended and ongoing construction if funded through local, state or federal allocations.

Innovations
  • The program management team established a special right-of-way committee to minimize right-of-way acquisition costs and preserve existing infrastructure. Engineers were consulted early to help guide the design of road projects. This allowed the program to prioritize purchase of the most expensive parcels upfront and ensured that new development was not permitted on needed right-of-way. The program has required the acquisition of more than 730 parcels.
  • The team initially prioritized lower-cost projects while waiting for post-Katrina construction cost inflation to abate, saving the Parish money on larger improvements that were initiated later.
  • Contractor incentives were used to expedite the completion of two projects with high traffic impacts.
  • Louisiana's first large-scale diverging diamond interchange between Pecue Lane and I-10
Related Links / Articles

CSRS Project Webpage

Contacts

Fred Raiford
Director, Transportation & Drainage
City of Baton Rouge/East Baton Rouge Parish
Tel: (225) 389-3158
fraiford@brgov.com

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