News

November 8, 2018

Press Release (Media/Web)

Update on Sunshine Bridge repair

Thursday, November 08, 2018 12:25 PM 

By WILLIAM H GRASS

BATON ROUGE –

Today the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) announced the latest update on the repair of the Sunshine Bridge. Jacks, hoses, and power units for the three jacks are on site, while other jacking components are currently arriving and scheduled to be installed by this weekend. Fabrication of the replacement chord began last weekend and is anticipated to be complete around the middle of next week. The subcontractor for the heat straightening of the steel, Dan R. Dalton, Inc., is scheduled to be on site Friday to evaluate needs. 

 

The actual jacking of the bridge to relieve the damaged chord is expected to take place from mid- to late-November. During this time, crews will heat straighten the remaining chord and install a replacement chord.

 

“We’re pleased to announce this latest update on the Sunshine Bridge repairs,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “Crews continue to work around the clock to ensure that the structure will be repaired as quickly and safely as possible. Everyone involved knows the importance of having this bridge repairs safely and in a timely fashion. As of now, we are on pace to have the bridge re-opened in January.”

 

The primary platform to access the damaged chord is complete, and the replacement of damaged rivets has been completed.

 

 

 

At this time, repairs are estimated to be complete in January 2019. Once repairs are complete, DOTD will give the bridge a thorough inspection to ensure that it’s safe for the traveling public.

 

Last week, Secretary Wilson and members of his team met with the senior leadership of Marquette Transportation, including its CEO and president, to discuss the incident that caused the damage to the Sunshine Bridge and the status and plans for the ongoing repairs required to safely re-open the bridge.

 

Dr. Wilson and Marquette CEO John Eckstein confirmed that the safe reopening of the Sunshine Bridge is the single most important goal for both organizations. DOTD and Marquette committed to working constructively together to achieve this goal as soon as practicable. 

 

“Marquette recognizes that the closure of the Sunshine Bridge has created a significant disruption for Louisiana citizens that travel the La. 70 route daily,” said Marquette’s President Damon Judd. “We value our deep connections in Louisiana and apologize for the inconvenience the closure has created.”

 

While both parties had legal representatives at the meeting, DOTD and Marquette agreed to prioritize the safety and expediency of the repair process and to avoid undue legal posturing that would disrupt progress of the repair. 

 

“We are committed and focused on completing the needed repairs,” Wilson said.

 

“We have instructed our engineers and experts to work with the DOTD team” added Mr. Judd.

 

Commuters are reminded to take advantage of Commuter Krewe. The Commuter Krewe website offers a ride-matching database to help commuters find others who live and work nearby to share rides. Go to https://www.commuterkrewe.la/ and sign up. Commuter Krewe is a joint effort of DOTD and the Capital Region Planning Commission. Check out the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CommuterKrewe/

 

DOTD has also adjusted the Plaquemine ferry schedule. During the duration of the Sunshine Bridge closure, additional ferry service hours will be

Monday through Friday, the first boat will run from 4:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Monday through Friday, the second boat will run from 5:15 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday, the first boat will run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday, the second boat will run from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

When two ferries are in operation, they are scheduled to depart every 15 minutes. When there is only one, it leaves every 30 minutes (departs Plaquemine at :00 and :30, Sunshine at :15 and :45).

 

Motorists are also encouraged to use the Veterans Memorial Bridge as an alternate river crossing.

Call 511 or visit 511la.org for additional travel information. Out-of-state travelers may call 1-800-ROAD-511 (1-800-762-3511). Motorists may also monitor the LA DOTD website at http://www.dotd.la.gov/, by selecting MYDOTD, or by visiting the DOTD Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

 

October 22, 2018

SBA Duplication of Benefits Change May Help Restore Louisiana Small Business Loan Program, Too

 

Today, the Louisiana Office of Community Development said additional funding might be available for applicants in the Restore Louisiana Small Business Loan Program because recent changes to federal law state that Small Business Administration loans for disaster recovery will no longer count as a duplication of benefits.

“The Governor has been working for this change to SBA loan policy since the Great Floods of 2016,” Pat Forbes, OCD executive director, said. “In the past, the Federal Emergency Management Agency insisted that survivors apply for an SBA loan without fully disclosing it could affect their ability to access other federal funding later. This kept many of Louisiana’s homeowners from getting the assistance they needed to recover. We are waiting to hear from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to see if this change will apply to our small businesses, too.”

President Trump signed the legislation into law in early October and the Governor has submitted the required request for a waiver. Once the President approves the waiver request and HUD issues its guidance for the funds, assuming that guidance allows it, RLSB lenders will update awards for all current applicants, regardless of their stage in the program.

OCD noted the following:

  • If a business affected by the SBA DOB policy applied to or received an award in the program, the owner should contact the lender that serviced the application.
  • If a business did not apply to the program because of an SBA loan, the owner should contact an RLSB lender in that parish to discuss possible participation in the program.

RLSB lenders are available to answer questions and provide help.

Contact information for RLSB lenders and the parishes they serve is located at restore.la.gov on the Small Business Assistance page under the Recovery Assistance menu tab.

 

September 30, 2018

Here is a list of all of the constitutional amendments that will be on the ballot this coming November.

Ex-Felons Running for Office (SB 31/CA – Appel) – If approved by voters, this measure requires convicted felons to wait five years after serving their sentences before they can run for public office or be appointed to office in Louisiana. ACT 719

 

  1. “Do you support an amendment to prohibit a convicted felon from seeking or holding public office or appointment within five years of completion of the sentence unless he is pardoned?”

 

Unanimous Jury Verdicts (SB 243/CA – Morrell, HB 365 – Jordan) – This measure proposes to amend the state constitution to require unanimous verdicts in noncapital felony offense cases. Only those offenses committed on or after January 1, 2019 will be impacted. Currently, only 10 out of 12 jurors have to agree on convictions for serious offenses, making Louisiana one of only two states that do not require a unanimous verdict. ACT 722 / ACT 493

 

  1. “Do you support an amendment to require a unanimous jury verdict in all noncapital felony cases for offenses that are committed on or after January 1, 2019?

 

Donation, Loan or Pledge of Public Credit (SB 263 – Erdey) – The current constitution prohibits the loan, pledge or donation of funds, credit, property or things of value of the state or a political subdivision to any person, association, or corporation, public or private. This measure changes the constitution to allow for a written agreement that provides for the donation of the use of public equipment and personnel by a political subdivision upon request to another political subdivision for an activity or function the requesting political subdivision is authorized to exercise. Basically this allows political subdivisions to share equipment and resources. ACT 717

 

  1. “Do you support an amendment to permit, pursuant to written agreement, the donation of the use of public equipment and personnel by a political subdivision upon request to another political subdivision for an activity or function which the requesting political subdivision is authorized to exercise?”

 

Transportation Trust Fund Uses (SB 59/CA – Cortez) – This measure removes the authority to appropriate or dedicate monies in the Transportation Trust Fund to state police for traffic control purposes. The money will continue to be dedicated to costs associated with construction and maintenance of roads and bridges, highway systems, flood control programs, ports, and airports. ACT 720

 

  1. “Do you support an amendment to remove authority to appropriate or dedicate monies in the Transportation Trust Fund to state police for traffic control purposes?

 

Special Assessment Levels for Property Tax Purposes (SB 163/CA / SB 289 – Perry) – Current state law and the state constitution provide for a special assessment for residential property receiving the homestead exemption under certain circumstances. The proposed change in the state constitution and state law extend the allowable frozen assessed value for disabled veterans and their spouses and unmarried surviving spouses of military personnel, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and first responders killed in the line of duty to homesteads held in trust.  ACT 721/ACT 659

 

  1. “Do you support an amendment to extend eligibility for the following special property tax treatment to property in trust: the special assessment level for property tax valuation, the property tax exemption for property of a disabled veteran, and the property tax exemption for the surviving spouse of a person who died while performing their duties as a first responder, active duty member of the military, or law enforcement or fire protection officer?”

 

Phased-In Property Tax Increases (SB 164/CA – Morrell) – This proposed change in the state constitution allows the phased-in application of increased residential property taxes over four years. The phased-in option kicks in when the assessed value of the property increases by more than 50%. If a taxing body decides to allow for the phased-in application of the increased taxes, the tax burden cannot be shifted to other taxpayers. ACT 718

  1. “Do you support an amendment that will require that any reappraisal of the value of residential property by more than 50%, resulting in a corresponding increase in property taxes, be phased-in over the course of four years during which time no additional reappraisal can occur and that the decrease in the total ad valorem tax collected as a result of the phase-in of assessed valuation be absorbed by the taxing authority and not allocated to the other taxpayers?”

 

September 12, 2018

Senator Eddie Lambert is to be recognized by the Ascension CCA for his conservation efforts. He will be formally recognized at the CCA Banquet on Thursday September 20, 2018. Senator Lambert serves as vice-chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee. He also spoke at the East Ascension Sportsman’s League meeting on August 20, 2018.

 

Upcoming Ascension Public Forums in September

September 6, 2018

Senator Eddie Lambert has recently been informed of two upcoming opportunities for Ascension’s Residents to get their voices heard on possible new changes coming to our area.

One of these opportunities is an open house. “Join us to review and provide input on potential scenarios for the future of Ascension Parish. Scenarios help depict the story of how choices we make today will impact how the parish looks in the future. Four scenarios showing different types of growth will be explained by the planning team based on the previous community workshop results and outreach. Attendees will review each scenario and have the opportunity to comment on the key themes and components they like and dislike. ”

There is two chances to get involved in this open house.

When: September 26th                                                  When: September 27th

Where: Gonzales Civic Center                                        Where: Lowery Elementary School

219 South Irma Boulevard                                            2389 Hwy. 1 South

Gonzales, LA                                                                 Donaldsonville, LA

You are welcome to drop in from 5:30 – 8pm. Presentations will be given at 6 and 7 pm.

 

The next opportunity for Ascension’s Residents to be proactive in their community is a public meeting to discuss the placement of a roundabout at LA 44 and LA 941.

When: September 25th

Where:  Ascension Parish Governmental Complex, Large Conference Room

615 East Worthey Road

Gonzales, LA 70737

Time: 5:00 – 8:00 pm

 

Senator Lambert & State Senate Commends Brayden Aime for ACT Score

April 13, 2018

Senator Eddie Lambert and the Louisiana State Senate formally commended French Settlement High School student Brayden Aime for earning a 36–a  perfect score on his ACT test. Aime’s ACT test result is 18.5 points higher than the Louisiana average, and only approximately one-tenth of one percent of all test takers nation-wide achieve a perfect score. The Senate adopted Senate Resolution 53, authored by Senator Lambert, to formally commend Aime for his academic achievements.

Senator Eddie Lambert and Senator Dale Erdey present Brayden Aime and family with SR 53

 

Annual Lenten Seafood Fundraiser

Senator Eddie Lambert is happy to announce the date for his annual Lenten Seafood Campaign Fundraiser, which will be held on Friday, March 2, 2018, from 6:00-8:30 PM at the Knights of Columbus Hall located at 230 Irma Blvd., in Gonzales. All are welcome to join us, visit with Senator Lambert, and enjoy great Louisiana seafood.

The cost is $50/person, or $25/per child under 18. If you have questions, would like to purchase tickets, or would like to help sell tickets, please call Eddie at (225) 647-9788.

 

Lambert Annual Survey Results

August 10, 2017

With each year’s legislative session, Senator Eddie Lambert sends annual surveys asking for the opinions of his constituents on a number and variety of issues that may arise during the legislative session. Senator Lambert is happy to share the results of the survey, and he sincerely thanks the hundreds and hundreds of people who responded to the survey.

SURVEY RESULTS

  1. Do you favor eliminating the death penalty for First Degree Murder?

Yes  24%               No  76%

  1. Do you think the sentences for burglary offenses should be reduced?

Yes  14%               No  86%

  1. Do you support increasing the gasoline tax by approximately 17 cents per gallon, which would result in paying approximately $340 more per year on the purchase of 2,000 gallons of fuel?

Yes  20%               No  80%

  1. How would you rate the Department of Transportation & Development’s efficiency in managing its budget and construction projects?

Excellent  0%      Good  7%             Average  31%       Poor  62%

  1. Would you support an increase in the gasoline tax if the new revenue were constitutionally dedicated to construction and maintenance and not administrative expenses or studies?

Yes  52%               No  48%

  1. How do you propose dealing with the increased cost of the TOPS program?

Raise academic standards for TOPS                          68%

Appropriate a definitive sum per student              30%

Raise taxes to cover increased costs                         2%

  1. Pertaining to the state budget, what do you propose we do first?

Reduce spending                                                             76%

Reduce tax exemptions                                                 21%

Increase income taxes                                                   3%

  1. Would you favor maintaining the current 5 cents state sales tax instead of replacing it with another tax?

Yes  80%               No  20%

 

Lambert Introduces Legislation During the 2017 Legislative Session

April 3, 2017

In the regular legislative session that convenes on April 10, Senator Eddie Lambert has introduced 5 pieces of legislation that he will try to secure support and passage of. Regular sessions in odd-numbered years are “fiscal only” sessions that are geared towards tax and revenue issues, but each legislator is permitted to  introduce up to 5 bills that do not encompass fiscal matters. Senator Lambert’s Senate bills (SB) this session includes:

SB 76    Current law allows a criminal defendant charged with identity theft to be tried in the state or parish where the victim resides. SB 76 would expand the number of modern, “high tech” crimes to the list of crimes where a defendant can be tried in the state or parish where the victim resides. The additional crimes would include: unauthorized use of an access card, access device fraud, illegal transmission of monetary funds, bank fraud, forgery, and monetary instrument abuse.

SB 77    Current law prohibits the taking of shad and skipjack during the closed season and on weekends of the open season. SB 77 would allow the taking of shad and skipjack during the closed season and on weekends of the open season with a shad gill net for bait purposes only and with the additional limitations: the net shall not exceed 150 feet in length; no more than 50 lbs. of shad may be taken during a day; and the gill net shall be attended at all times. This legislation would not apply to any salt water species.

SB 135  Authorizes the issuance of Blue Star Family prestige license plates.

SB 156  Exempts certain portions of the rules regarding juvenile detentions in situations where the detention is for 30 days or less. Some of the rules that would be inapplicable for short detentions include dietary rules, rules regarding the height of ceilings in detention centers, or the rules regarding the layout of dining facilities, among other requirements.

SB 159  Would require that in instances where settlement money from an insurer for damage done to residential property be held in escrow and earn interest. The bill would require the suspension of mortgage payments while the money is held in escrow. The bill would require that whenever the residential property has been repaired to the satisfaction of the homeowner and the lender, the money held in escrow and the interest on the money, are to be paid to the homeowner.  A similar rule was initiated after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, but were limited in scope and only applied to those two named storms.

For a detailed reading of any of Senator Lambert’s Senate bills this session, visit: Senator Lambert’s Legislation

 

Resources for Student Financial Assistance

January 31, 2017

With budget cuts affecting the Louisiana Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, commonly called the “TOPS” Program, families should maximize available information to search for additional scholarship and funding sources for schools, colleges, and universities. The resources available through the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) offer information on a wide variety of scholarship and funding availability.

The LOSFA phone number is 225-219-1012 or 800-259-5626. You can visit LOSFA on the web at http://www.osfa.la.gov/index.jsp?SRC=/frmstops.htm.  The LOSFA website has a wealth of information and includes TOPS information. It also has links for the financial aid websites of Louisiana schools.

The LSU Baton Rouge specific information may be obtained by calling 225-578-3103 or at http://sites01.lsu.edu/wp/financialaid/

 

 

DOTD Slated To Begin Repairs of US 61/I-10 Ramp

April 19, 2016

The Department of Transportation and Development is entering the final planning stages for repairs to the US 61/I-10 ramp. The project is currently scheduled for August 10, 2016 letting (beginning of the project) and is now in an accelerated schedule in preparing the plans.

This project will repair major structural damage due to an over-height load that collided with a girder that supports the deck on the I-10 west on-ramp.

The approximately $900,000 project will go to bid later this summer, as stated previously, and should be completed within a year of its start date.

 

Turn Lanes at Intersection of La. Hwy. 44 and Black Bayou Has Begun

March 23, 2016

Construction has begun on left turn lanes at the intersection of La. Hwy 44 and Black Bayou is expected to be completed within 90 working days, which will improve efficiency and safety at the intersection.  “Road improvements for our strained road systems remains one of my highest priorities,” Senator Lambert said.