WHEREAS we ask: Are they for real?

A recent resolution passed with the Caddo Parish School Board and we wanted to ask “Are they for real?” about every one of the points. Here are the questions we’d ask of them.

  • “WHEREAS, the I-49 Inner City Connector has been contemplated since at least 2010”
    • Has it been that long?
      Much longer, actually. Dorothy Wiley arrived in Allendale after Katrina in 2005. At that time I-49 ICC was dead, killed by the leadership of Sister Margaret McCaffrey during the late 1980’s.  The Federal Highway Administration had preliminarily designated the loop as I-49. Then, during 2009, after Dorothy and 50 neighbors built Allendale homes, the highway industrial complex revived I-49 ICC.
  • “WHEREAS, Interstate 49, once completed, will be an integral part of an international controlled access, North-South highway system linking the State of Louisiana to markets and destinations in Canada, Northern United States, and all intermediate points;”
    • What North-South highway system is that?
      Right now I49 only covers 20% of the driveable miles between the proposed Winnipeg and New Orleans. (528existing/2500proposed miles) Source hereAlso, do vehicles have a hard time getting through Shreveport going North/South (or South/North)?
      No. Right now I-220 and La. 3132 easily handle the through traffic flows of I-49. Adding better signage to direct drivers,  and renaming it the I49 loop would cost a lot less than the $990 million of constructing an inner city connector.
  • “WHEREAS, the I-49 Inner City Connector is projected to provide several hundred million dollars in economic impact to Caddo Parish and the surrounding area according to a 2016 report commissioned by NLCOG;”
    • Is that possible?
      No. That kind of increase would be about 3.6% of our GDP. Recent studies have shown that new inner city freeway infrastructure doesn’t lead to overall economic growth, but instead winds up being a huge drain of public resources.Increasing our GDP would be a lot easier and yield a bigger ROI if we instead focused on making all of Shreveport a great place to live., Maintaining what we have is smarter than neglecting existing infrastructure so we can add freeways we cannot maintain. We can’t grow our economy by expanding our city infrastructure while also losing residents and jobs as steadily as we have over the last few decades.
  • “WHEREAS, the completion of I-49 through Shreveport is vital to the economic development of Northwest Louisiana, as it will attract new businesses and industries to this area and open new markets to existing business and industry;”
    • How does new infrastructure attract businesses?
      It doesn’t. According to recent studies, road spending shifts  economic benefits to different geographic locations, but doesn’t increase GDP overall. After construction of new roads were completed, there were no additional economic benefits from spending that expands city infrastructure. So only those who profit from road construction will benefit, and only in the short term.Source here
  • “WHEREAS, the I-49 Inner City Connector mitigates potential contamination of the local water supply by taking a direct route that avoids going over Cross Lake;”
    • Is that true?
      No. The Cross Lake bridge exists and is designed to contain spills. It’s potential to direct pollution to the city’s water supply will remain if I-49 ICC is constructed through wetlands where it may pollute Twelve-Mile Bayou (also part of our water supply) and cause potential flooding to Agurs. Building a new environmental hazard through the middle of town only adds more pollution to the heart of Shreveport.
  • “​WHEREAS, the I-49 Inner City Connector has become more necessary as more businesses and industry locate in Caddo Parish and the surrounding area;”
    • Are more businesses locating here?
      No. Between 1980 and 2018 Shreveport actually lost 18,000 residents and 13,000 jobs. The completion of I-49 ICC south of I-20 was the beginning of Shreveport job and population losses.
  • “WHEREAS, Amazon has announced the location of a new distribution center in Caddo Parish, which will significantly increase 18-wheeler traffic needing interstate access.”
    • Again, do 18-wheelers have a hard time traveling around Shreveport? Are our roads too small to handle more?
      Again, I-220 and 3132 are plenty big enough for 18-wheelers and Amazon’s facility has easy access to “U.S. Highway 71 and Interstate 220 via a pair of 100-foot-wide city streets, Corporate Drive and Forum Drive.”
      Source here”
  • NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Caddo Parish School Board in due, regular and legal session convened, that it hereby supports completing the I-49 Inner City Connector as soon as possible.”
    • How does a school board support I49? And what’s the soonest we could use the complete connector?
      According to their own experts, it will take a minimum of 17 years to fully complete the I49 ICC project. The history of urban freeways is one of systemic racism that unjustly disadvantages Black and poverty neighborhoods. How can this be good for education outcomes in Caddo Parish?
  • “This resolution was passed by the members of the Caddo Parish School Board during its regular scheduled meeting on the __________ day of _________________, 2021 as follows:”
      The Caddo Parish School Board enthusiastically endorsed a racist boondoggle that will destroy a thriving inner city neighborhood, and saddle the entire region with maintenance costs for an unneeded road building project that we won’t be able to use for another 17 years. If you only listen to the businesses who make a profit from building roads, then you’ll be convinced that we will all be missing out on fairy-tale future benefits if we don’t spend a whole lot more money on roads. They just want government money. They don’t care about Shreveport or its residents.