New LAA names officers

Wade McIntyre

BATON ROUGE - Meeting for the first time Wednesday since its revamp into a smaller format, the Louisiana Airport Authority Board of Commissioners named members Lane Grigsby, chairman, Dale Jimel Jr., vice chairman and Mike Waguespack, secretary.

During the approximately 3-hour meeting, LAA consultants and financial advisors reviewed work completed on the proposed multi-modal Louisiana Transportation Center to be located between Donaldsonville and White Castle.

The general focus of the session was to bring new members up to date on the scope of work completed by the Authority since 1992.

One study by a real estate appraiser estimated it will take about $80 million for the first phase acquisition of 7,800 acres of land to cover the first 20 years of the transportation center’s operation.

The board is comprised of 11 voting members. Two members represent Ascension Parish, one member represents St. James Parish, two members represent Assumption Parish, two members represent Iberville Parish, and one member serves at large. The secretary of the Department of Economic Development and the secretary of the Department of Transportation, or their designees, as well as the governor, or his designee, also serve on the board.

Representing Ascension Parish on the board are Donaldsonville Mayor Leroy Sullivan and Gonzales resident  L.C. Irvin. Other members include Secretary of Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Bill Ankers,  Harold P. Schexnayder of White Castle, Russ Settoon of Pierre Part, John “Randy” Sexton of Grosse Tete and  Mike Wampold, III of Baton Rouge.

Board member Stephen Moret, who is secretary of the Louisiana Department of Economic Development and Gov. Bobby Jindal’s top economic advisor, announced the administration will not have the Authority complete a business plan, or studies for a return on investment and the ultimate structuring of a public/private partnership to build the center.

Moret indicated the administration would consider reporting favorably on the LTC to the upcoming legislature if a developer is found who is prepared to invest substantial capital investment in the project with the state securing needed land.

In the unlikely even that a major tenant commits to the project before land for the project is purchased, Moret said that would also generate a favorable legislative report.

LAA Executive Director Glenda Jeansonne said the LAA offices in Laplace will close and she will be resigning her position Dec. 5 due to the illness of her husband.

Her position will not be filled, but Judy Ates, executive assistant will work out of her home for the organization.