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CFA releases study of economic impact on completing I-49 - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

CFA releases study of economic impact on completing I-49

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Community Foundation of Acadiana releases I-49 study / KATC Community Foundation of Acadiana releases I-49 study / KATC
LAFAYETTE LA -

Community Foundation of Acadiana (CFA) has released an economic impact analysis it commissioned that assesses the benefits of completing the I-49 Lafayette Connector and the extension of I-49 South from Lafayette to New Orleans. CFA contracted with Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI) and CDM Smith to perform the study. The study finds that completing the I-49 Lafayette Connector - a 5.5-mile extension of I-49 from I-10 to just south of the Lafayette Regional Airport - demonstrates robust short-term and long-term impacts on jobs and economic growth. Completing both the Lafayette Connector and other segments of I-49 South - to connect with I-310 southwest of New Orleans - would yield even stronger impacts and growth.

The study evaluates impacts from both construction expenditures and travel efficiency benefits using REMI's TranSight model, a nationally recognized tool for evaluating the economic effects of changes to transportation systems. It looks at indicators including but not limited to population, employment, gross regional product, disposable personal income, output (in terms of sales and supply), travel time savings, and reductions in emissions.

Key findings include:

  • By 2044, completing the Lafayette Connector and other segments of I-49 South will create more than 6,000 jobs statewide
  • Over a 21-year period following the construction of the 5.5-mile Lafayette Connector, the additional GDP contribution to the state of Louisiana is estimated to be more than $2.3 billion
  • Over the same period, if both the Lafayette Connector and other segments of I-49 South arecompleted, the additional GDP contribution to Louisiana is estimated to be more than $9.7billion
  • By 2044, completing the 5.5-mile Lafayette Connector would save drivers an estimated 5.5 million trip hours. Completing the Lafayette Connector and other segments of I-49 South would save drivers an estimated 27.2 million trip hours 
  • Doing a benefit-cost analysis based on U.S. Department of Transportation guidelines, the Lafayette Connector has a national benefit-cost ratio of 1.93. Together with other segments of
  • I-49 South, the benefit-cost ratio is 2.42

"CFA is one of south Louisiana's premier philanthropic organizations whose core components are services, trusted stewardship, and civic leadership. CFA's civic leadership role is not advocacy, but, rather, simply to provide, in this case, objective data regarding the economic impact resulting from the completion of I-49 South," said Raymond Hebert, CEO and President of CFA.

"As the public debates the planning and design of the Lafayette Connector, there was a need for a rigorous, credible, unbiased economic analysis, which demonstrates the economic benefits that would result from completing this critical project," said Kam Movassaghi, CFA Chairman and former Louisiana transportation secretary.

"Infrastructure is vital to maintain connectivity within the region and with other markets - particularly for our energy, transportation, distribution and tourism sectors," said Gregg Gothreaux, President and CEO of LEDA. "If our region wishes to remain a leader in the south, there is a substantial need to improve our public infrastructure, including I-49. As evidenced by this study, completing I-49 South will create opportunities for generations to come."

"The completion of I-49 South is within reach. More than 100 of the planned 160 miles of I-49 South are complete or under construction. This study illustrates the transformational return on investment from finally finishing the job and realizing a fully functional interstate along 'America's Energy Corridor,'" said Jason El Koubi, President and CEO of One Acadiana. "Make no mistake about it: I-49 South is a game-changer for our region and our state."

The I-49 South economic impact analysis received cooperative support from the Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA), One Acadiana, Acadiana Economic Development Council (AEDC), I-49 South Coalition, Port of Iberia, St. Martin Economic Development, St. Mary Economic Development and private citizens. In addition, CFA received expert guidance from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

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