Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel was one of more than 200 U.S. mayors to participate in a recent msnbc.com survey about what city leaders want from President-elect Barack Obama. Msnbc.com writes that it “queried more than 1,000 mayors by e-mail just after Election Day, seeking their top two suggestions for the president-elect’s 'to do' list.” In all, 205 mayors in 48 states and Puerto Rico responded. The economy (97 mentions) and infrastructure (75 mentions) were the most frequent issues raised in the survey. Here’s what Durel had to say:
1. Finish Interstate 49 from I-10 all the way to New Orleans. Currently I-49 ends at I-10 in Lafayette and turns into U.S. Hwy 90. This is a dangerous road with heavy traffic because of its proximity to New Orleans and the oil and gas industry in Southeast Louisiana. It is an important energy corridor and serves as the main hurricane evacuation route for much of that part of the state. This is also good for much of mid America for getting farm products and other goods to the Port of Orleans.
2. The city of Lafayette is installing fiber optics to every home and business in the city that wants it. We will give our citizens, peer to peer connectivity of 100mbs -- for free! This is being done through our city-owned utility and we will have something 80 to 90% of America won’t have 20 years from now. The federal government needs to do all it can to encourage municipalities to do what we are doing.
The free 100mbs peer-to peer service refers to LUS’ plan to allow higher speed interconnectivity among its subscribers for no additional charge. Durel, who is not a fan of MSNBC, says that he inititally ignored two emails from the news organization before finally responding to the survey. He says while he wants to take every opportunity to promote I-49 and Lafayette’s fiber-to-the-home project, he isn't holding his breath waiting for Obama to call. "[The survey] seemed to be a pretty insignificant thing as far as I was concerned," he says.