I-49 funding battle ahead

(October 27, 2003) — (Lafayette, Louisiana-AP) -- A Louisiana Congressman says the completion of Interstate 49 from Kansas City to New Orleans will cost about 4-point-4 (B) billion dollars. The interstate would run through western Arkansas. Congressman Chris John and other members of the Congressional I-49 Caucus spent Thursday and Friday flying the route of the interstate and drumming up support for the funding struggle ahead. Other members of the caucus are from Missouri and Arkansas. Of the total cost, more than two (B) billion dollars will be required to complete I-49 from Lafayette to New Orleans. Louisiana officials are considering using tolls to pay for their portion. Finishing the interstate will connect the ports between Houston and New Orleans to a direct northward route from Mexico to Canada. By the end of February, Congress is scheduled to pass a transportation bill that will dole out more than 370 (B) billion over the next six years for transportation projects nationwide.