Monroe’s legislative priorities

Infrastructure tops the list
Published: Apr. 3, 2021 at 1:51 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Monroe has a long wish list for state lawmakers, but the number one priority is to improve infrastructure and that includes what many call long-overdue water issues.

State representative Michael Echols said infrastructure is the main goal. He said with so much COVID relief money coming in, that’s probably doable.

“Our water in Ouachita parish is horrible. Sometimes we have brown water, and we are all having to go buy bottled water because they say that they’re going to clean the water and make it better, but they haven’t done it yet,” said Terri Bartmess.

Echols said water is a priority for Monroe, which includes rehabilitating the Calypso Street Pump Station, which he also said is crucial.

“That station is deeply, we’ll call it depreciated. It’s got a lot of challenges. And so they need several million dollars to start the planning and engineering, and then another 5 to 7 million dollars to complete that project,” said state representative Michael Echols R-District 14.

Another priority is improving the Kansas Lane and Kansas Garrett Interchange. He said they’re requesting more than $30 million for that project.

“It’s a project that has been going on for over 20 years. And I think this year, you’ve already seen some of the work started, you’ll see some of the work continue. And then I think over the next couple of few years, you’ll see the final project come to fruition,” said Echols.

And people like William McDowell hope they come to fruition because he’s sick and tired of dirty water and would like a smoother ride on down the road.

“It’s definitely very important to me that they improve our infrastructure. The water quality in Ouachita parish is definitely not the best, brown water in the bathtub, I definitely wouldn’t drink it. And as far as the roads go, I would say we have some of the roughest roads I’ve ever driven on,” said McDowell.

A problem McDowell hopes he’ll soon be seeing in his rearview mirror.

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