WHEREAS: over 36 percent of the population of the State of Louisiana resides in the vicinity of U.S. 90 between Interstate 10 (hereafter "I-10") in Lafayette and the Westbank Expressway in New Orleans; as a consequence, the four-laned highway is the primary hurricane evacuation route for South Louisiana;
WHEREAS: it is a priority for the State of Louisiana to prepare for the twenty-first century by promoting economic growth and development through the provisions of a transportation system adequate to support new economic activity with its increase in traffic volume, encourage international and domestic commerce, promote tourism, and improve public safety; and
WHEREAS: the interests of the citizens of the State of Louisiana would be best served by the creation of a task force to analyze the feasibility of upgrading U.S. 90 into an interstate and evaluate the impact it would have on the general populace of the state, particularly those living in South Louisiana;
NOW THEREFORE I, M.J. "MIKE" FOSTER, JR., Governor of the State of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and laws of the State of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:
SECTION 1: The Interstate 49 South Project Task Force (hereafter "task force") is established within the Executive Department, Office of the Governor.
SECTION 2: The primary duty of the task force shall be to submit to the Governor, by April 1, 1998, a comprehensive report which includes research, analyses, and recommendations addressing the following nonexclusive list of issues:
SECTION 3: The secondary duty of the task force shall be to prepare documentation, suitable for submission to the members of the State of Louisiana's United States Congressional Delegation, which documents the reasons for the United States Congress to designate U.S. 90, between the Westbank Expressway in New Orleans and I-10 in Lafayette, as an interstate route through South Louisiana.
SECTION 4: The task force shall be composed of at least 20 members appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the Governor. The membership of the task force shall be selected as follows:
SECTION 5: The Governor shall appoint the chair from the membership of the task force. All other officers shall be elected by the task force.
SECTION 6: Support staff for the task force and facilities for their meetings shall be provided by the Department of Transportation and Development.
SECTION 7: Task force members shall not receive compensation or a per diem from the Office of the Governor or the Department of Transportation and Development. Nonetheless, contingent upon the availability of funds, a member who is not an elected official or an employee of the federal government may receive reimbursement from the Office of the Governor for actual travel expenses incurred, in accordance with state guidelines and procedures, and upon the approval of the commissioner of administration.
SECTION 8: All departments, commissions, boards, agencies, and officers of the state, or any political subdivision thereof, are authorized and directed to cooperate with the task force in implementing the provisions of the Order.
SECTION 9: This Order is effective upon signature and shall continue in effect until amended, modified, terminated, or rescinded by the Governor, or terminated by operation of law.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Louisiana, at the Capitol, in the City of Baton Rouge, on this 18th day of September, 1997.
M.J. "Mike" Foster, Jr.
Secretary of State