Ascension Parish considering tax district for road improvements in Hwy. 30 corridor

Staff Report

Ascension Parish government leaders are looking into a new taxing district for the Geismar and Darrow areas, where much of the industrial sector is located, to improve the road system.

If approved, property and sales taxes collected within the district would go toward infrastructure improvement projects. The upgraded quality of the transportation system could then attract new private investment to the area.

The Ascension Parish Governmental Complex in Gonzales is shown in a file photo.

As pointed out by the Highway 30 Coalition, Ascension Parish has seen $10 billion in industrial investments within the last two and a half years. Much of it has been in the bustling Hwy. 30 corridor, which extends from Gonzales to the Geismar area. The corridor connects to Hwy. 73 and River Road, along the east bank of the Mississippi River.

The coalition contends the residents of the parish are tasked with navigating insufficient infrastructure and increasing traffic woes in the corridor, which has built up over recent decades on the southern side of the Baton Rouge area.

As stated on its website, the Highway 30 Coalition seeks to expand roadway capacity and ease traffic congestion through pursuing state and federal funding opportunities, accelerating the project milestones, and raising awareness among state and community leaders of the critical need.

If put into place, the district would not require a tax increase. Instead, it would take the increase generated above the existing tax revenues.

The proposed district would cover from the Iberville Parish boundary, down the river, to Hwy. 22 in Darrow. It would then trace back along Bayou Conway north to the Gonzales city limits, and back west to the Hwy. 74 area. It would include the majority of Hwy. 30 west of Interstate 10 in Gonzales.

Similar tax districts have been set up in other areas like Baton Rouge, where Amazon has converted the former Cortana Mall into a fulfillment center.

On the west side of Ascension Parish, officials have created a district in the mostly rural area around Modeste, which is north of Donaldsonville. It has been proposed as an industrial zone to accommodate further economic growth.