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|Vidalia, Ferriday mayors push local projects in D.C.|
Mayors Hyram Copeland of Vidalia and Glen McGlothin of Ferriday are continuing meetings with Congressional members in Washington, D.C., today (Wednesday) as they seek financial support for a number of local projects.
They watched from the gallery as the U.S. Senate pass President Barrack Obama's $838 billion emergency economic stimulus package on Tuesday.
The two said their meeting with Sen. David Vitter on Tuesday was productive and they were scheduled to meet with Sen. Mary Landrieu and Congressman Rodney Alexander today.
"We've had some good meetings and our reception has been great," Copeland said. "Our Congressional leaders are helping us with the Corps of Engineers on the Vidalia port. The meetings on this project have been excellent."
"We talked with Sen. Landrieu and rode the train to watch the Senate vote on the stimulus package," Copeland said. "That was really historic and quite an event."
McGlothin is talking with officials about Ferriday's water plant and sewage problems, as well the El Camino Corridor Commission, which he serves as chairman.
"We have to get $100,000 for the Corps to do a study," McGlothin said, referring to improvements at the water plant as well as a plan to raise the weir at Old River. He said engineer Bryant Hammett "has already completed the study. Now we need the money to go ahead with the project. We're asking for a million dollars in grant money because the stimulus money comes down through community development block grants."
McGlothin said only 12 percent of the El Camino Corridor -- Hwy. 84 -- has been four-laned in Louisiana, while other states are around 80 percent complete with the project.
"We're making some inroads and the good thing is that other states are sponsoring resolutions to help Louisiana because the corridor cannot be completed without us," McGlothin said. "Without us it is not a real four-lane highway. It's a $105 million project that will take three different bills to complete."
Copeland said a four-lane corridor through the state would help bring in more industries, as would a port.
"We feel like this is the year to get major commitments from our delegation," Copeland said. "Hopefully we can get this $12-to-15 million project going and that would be tremendous for industrial recruitment because we do not have a rail system. We have over 2,000 acres committed to industrial development, we just need a means to receive and ship goods."
Other parish officials meeting with Congressional leaders are Concordia Economic Development Director Heather Malone and Chairman Richard Young, El Camino Corridor Commission board members H.L. Irvin and Jenny Blanton, Vidalia City Manager Ken Walker and former state representative Bryant Hammett.
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