In the opening forum of the 2015 race for Louisiana’s next Governor, 300 attendees heard three Republicans and a Democrat say that state leaders have to restore voter confidence in how state infrastructure dollars are used before any major funding hikes are feasible. The Gubernatorial primary may be 10 months away, but, the first face-to-face debate among all four major announced candidates – U.S. Senator David Vitter, Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne, Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle and State Representative John Bel Edwards was held January 16th and was co-sponsored by design and construction industry organizations AIA, AGC, ACEC and APA of Louisiana. The forum was held in conjunction with the 2015 Critical Issues Summit held annually by the groups.
The sole topic was infrastructure and transportation needs, which meant most of the focus was on Louisiana’s $12 billion backlog of road, bridge and infrastructure projects.
The event offered the first glimpse into how the candidates will attempt to stand out from one another. The contenders discussed the critical issue of Louisiana’s vanishing coastline and coastal resilience. Other key topics included diversion of Louisiana Transportation Trust Fund Dollars, the capital outlay process and how to build infrastructure for the state’s 900 billion dollar industrial expansion.
The Gubernatorial primary election is October 24th with the general election slated for November 21st.