Lafayette MPO chairman OK with adding St. Martin seat

LAFAYETTE – Lafayette City-Parish Council Chairman Purvis Morrison said last week he is OK with increasing representation on the Metropolitan Planning Organization even though it probably means splitting the federal stimulus pie into smaller pieces.

“We can’t just keep spending the money in our area and not include them,” Morrison said.

“Them” includes St. Martin Parish, the more populous parts of which are included in the Lafayette MPO though which the Lafayette City-Parish Council will meet this week to figure out where to spend $8.3 million in federal stimulus money.

At a meeting last week to discuss potential projects, St. Martin Parish President Guy Cormier, state Sen. Troy Hebert of Jeanerette, and Broussard Mayor Charles Langlinais pushed to open the MPO’s governing body to representation from surrounding parishes and smaller communities within Lafayette Parish.

“If they are going to count our heads, we should have some representation there,” St. Martin Parish President Guy Cormier told reporters. “I think it’s time they recognize us being part of the team.”

Cormier said he is in favor of the U.S. 90 project being touted as a main priority, but he said St. Martin also has needs.

“What is happening now is the Lafayette MPO is counting people I represent, but when I look at this list, I see nothing in St. Martin Parish,” Cormier said.

The U.S. 90 project would cost up to $6 million, leaving a balance of over $2 million for other projects.

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