D.C. trip rescheduled for March

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, February 16, 2010

VIDALIA — The conference local officials were going to attend in Washington, D.C., that was canceled due to snow has been rescheduled, and most of the Miss-Lou delegation will be attending.

The annual U.S. 84 El-Camino Corridor 5-State Commission conference, of which many of the municipalities located along U.S. 84 are members, will be March 22-25.

The goal of the conference was to discuss what needs to be done to finish the four-laning of the El-Camino corridor, which runs along U.S. 84 from Georgia through Texas, and to lobby congressional leaders for funding to achieve those goals.

Commission President Janet Sullivan said the group will be meeting with congressmen and senators from Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.

Taking a wide range of people to the commission meeting helps demonstrate to the legislative leaders that the project has a wide base of support, Sullivan said.

“They are very impressed when we go in with board members or business people, when we come from all the different states together, they realize it is a concerted effort, that the states are working together,” she said.

The Miss-Lou groups also plan to use the trip to the nation’s capital to lobby for local projects as well.

Ferriday Mayor Glen McGlothin said he would be making the rescheduled trip because Ferriday has high priority projects that need funding.

“I still have a water plant to build,” he said. “With all the repairs we have made, we have already paid for a water plant. We have overspent on this (existing) water plant.”

The deadline for applications for federal funding is fast approaching, and McGlothin said it’s only with federal help Ferriday will get its water plant built.

“There is no way to get in (the funding cycle) without putting our names in the hat,” he said. “When I go, I am not asking them for help, I am begging them for help.”

Natchez Mayor Jake Middleton said he and City Engineer David Gardner would be making the trip. Gardner and Middleton are on the El Camino committee.

Middleton said that while in Washington, D.C., the Natchez delegation would try to meet with the National Park Service to discuss NPS land that could be used for a local recreation project and possibly switching control of the Natchez intermodal center to the NPS.

The Natchez group will also try to meet with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to discuss possible funding for the North Natchez drainage project and projects in the Marblestone area, Middleton said.

Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland, Alderman Triand “Tron” McCoy, Riverfront Administrator H.L. Irvin, City Manager Ken Walker and Sheri Rabb with the Vidalia Conference and Convention Center marketing department will be attending, Copeland said.

In addition to the commission meeting, Vidalia city leaders will be meeting to discuss housing and port funding, Copeland said.

While Concordia Economic and Industrial Development District Director Heather Malone will not be able to attend the conference, CPEIDD Board President Richard Young will attend the event, Malone said. Clayton Mayor Rydell Turner will also be attending.