The state’s 2012 Capital Outlay Bill (House Bill 2) contains more than $1.5 billion in priority 1 projects and another $1.2 billion in priorities 2 and 5 projects.
The bill, which was approved by the full House on May 17, was heard by the Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee on Monday, May 28, and now goes to the full Senate for debate. If the Senate version finally passed is different from the House version, the bill will go to a conference committee to hammer out a compromise and still must be approved by both chambers.
After final passage by both chambers, the bill will go to Gov. Bobby Jindal who, by line item veto, may eliminate projects he deems wasteful or which may obtain funding elsewhere.
At a time when the state is grappling with revenue shortfalls and budget deficits, this year’s construction bill is packed with more than more than $180 million in priority 1 local spending projects such as festivals, ball parks, sports complexes, community centers, professional sports facilities, groundwater reservoirs and golf courses.
Some of those include:
• $17.5 million for professional sports facilities in Jefferson and Orleans parishes;
• $1.17 million for New Orleans Zephyrs baseball facilities repair;
• $21.5 million for the New Orleans Sports Arena improvements;
• $17.2 million for an economic development award program for infrastructure assistance;
• $7.74 million for wet-lab business incubators statewide;
• $20 million for aerospace manufacturing infrastructure in New Orleans;
• $10 million for mega-project site preparation statewide;
• $4.6 million for renovations to the River Center Arena and Theatre in Baton Rouge;
• $1.4 million for baseball stadium improvements in Baton Rouge;
• $2 million for construction of a community center in north Iberville Parish;
• $6.7 million for improvements to the Bayou Segnette sports complex in Jefferson Parish;
• $8.6 million for land acquisition and additional cabins for Bayou Segnette State Park;
• $13 million for Bayou Segnette Festival Park land acquisition and construction;
• $600,000 for construction in raw undeveloped area of Parc de Families in Jefferson parish;
• $8.5 million for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Natchitoches State Museum;
• $6.6 million for improvements to New Orleans City Park golf course;
• $2 million for improvements to amusement area at New Orleans City Park;
• $2.4 million for Bayou Dechene Reservoir in Caldwell Parish;
• $1.7 million for real estate acquisition and improvements to Poverty Point Reservoir;
• $2.6 million for Washington Parish Reservoir study, planning and construction;
• $950,000 for repair and renovation of the Strand Theatre in Shreveport;
• $400,000 for a multipurpose evacuation shelter and community center in Avoyelles Parish;
• $4.2 million for a golf course development in Calcasieu Parish;
• $635,000 for the Woodmere Community Center in Jefferson Parish;
• $2 million for a governmental complex and jail upgrade in Lafayette Parish;
• $2.3 million for a multipurpose community center in Bienville Parish;
• $1 million for a fire station and public service center in St. Mary Parish;
• $1.6 million for a cultural center for the arts in Jefferson Parish;
• $250,000 for a Maurice civic center-post hurricane shelter in Vermilion Parish;
• $400,000 for Rosenwald Community Center in Orleans Parish;
• $200,000 for renovations to the Dansereau Harris Playground in Orleans Parish;
• $1 million for improvements to park land in Jefferson Parish;
• $215,000 for a Winnsboro community center in Franklin Parish;
• $4 million for Phase 2 construction of the West Calcasieu Community Center;
• $2.85 million for a public safety complex for the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office in Ruston;
That comes to a little more than $182.4 million – and that’s just a small sampling of the $1.5 billion in projects included in the bill.
The bill passed the House by an 84-15 vote with 6 members absent.
Those voting against the bill were Reps. Richard Burford (R-Stonewall), Thomas Carmody (R-Shreveport), Simone Champagne (R-Erath), Brett Geymann (R-Lake Charles), Lance Harris (R-Alexandria), Bob Hensgens (R-Abbeville), Nancy Landry (R-Lafayette), Anthony Ligi (R-Metairie), Sherman Mack (R-Livingston), Jim Morris (R-Oil City), Steve Pylant (R-Winnsboro), John Schroder (R-Covington), Alan Seabaugh (R-Shreveport), Jeff Thompson (R-Bossier City) and Lenar Whitney (R-Houma).
Absent and not voting were Reps. Neil Abramson (D-New Orleans), Regina Barrow (D-Baton Rouge), Raymond Garofalo (R-Chalmette), Joe Harrison (R-Gray), Girod Jackson (D-Harvey) and Jerome Richard (I-Thibodaux).