Bill focuses on New Orleans projects

The Louisiana Senate advanced legislation Tuesday that would extend the use of design-build on six projects in Orleans Parish.

House Bill 559, sponsored by state Rep. Jared Brossett, D-New Orleans, returns to the Louisiana House for concurrence in Senate changes that specified the projects for which the design-build method could be used. Design-build is construction process that gives one contractor responsibility for all of the work on a project.

Deadlines were also established for its use.

Present law adopted in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Rita allowed use of the method which is supposed to expedite completion of projects until July 10, 2013.

The Senate revamp extended the date until July 10, 2014, for Edna Karr High School, G.W. Carver High School, Martin Behrman High School, Sherwood Forest Elementary School and Paul B. Habans Elementary School. The length of time would be extended until July 10, 2015, for projects of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, in a power plant not to exceed $30.4 million under the amended bill.

State Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, tried unsuccessfully to strip the power plant project from the legislation. “They are inept. They are incompetent,” Appel said.

State Sen. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, said the project is sorely needed and that changes in the make-up of the Sewerage and Water Board are underway. “Everybody needs to survive and this power plant is very important,” he said.