BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The ForwardBR Panel Discussion on Traffic, Transportation and Infrastructure held a meeting on June 23 in Baton Rouge.

Secretary of Louisianan Department of Transportation and Development Dr. Shawn Wilson says since last year, wrecks in Louisiana have increased. He says on average, “We’ve had almost three people a day die, and that’s unacceptable by all means.”

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) and the East Baton Rouge Parish Department of Public Works are stepping on the breaks when it comes dangerous roadways.

They say distracted drivers have become more prevalent such as texting and driving and driving under the influence.

With one too many fatalities in Louisiana Wilson says, “Unrestrained fatalities we’ve seen in a number of years, so that’s first and foremos,”.

“Putting safety and safer roads is the biggest priority,” Wilson said.

Road safety is a major concern when it comes roadside services. That’s why the state is spending so much money on roads this year. This includes setting aside 300 million for a new Mississippi River Bridge.

According to the Transportation Director East Baton Rouge Parish Department of Public Work Fred Raiford, the goal would be to have probably 90 percent of the construction done in twelve years.

Raiford and Wilson are working together to make sure these most of these uncompleted projects are completed.

Leadership Baton Rouge Alumni invited the public to see what’s planned for their streets. Leadership Baton Rouge Alumni is the association for graduates of BRAC’S Leadership Baton Rouge Program. Their mission is to support diverse leaders who are committed to improving the quality of life in Baton Rouge.

People like Rebecca De’Jesus Crespo, an assistant professor at the LSU environmental sciences, wanted to weigh in on how these state leaders plan to break ground.

“For me, I want my tax dollars to go not only for infrastructure development or certain sectors of society, but I want them to benefit all sectors of society,” Crespo said.

This does not just benefit the safety of the city’s roadways, but it develops new roads for other activities that need to be addressed.

“Things like passenger rail is absolutely essential, things like bicycle lanes are absolutely essential,” Wilson said.

“We think that is critical to having a healthier lifestyle in our parish,” Raiford added.

Over $2.9 billion dollars are set aside for Baton Rouge infrastructure this year. State leaders say they need the public input on what should come first when it comes to remodeling and building new roads and infrastructures.

“Go to meetings, listen and get the input, and the reason why I think that’s important is because they are paying for it,” Raiford said.

For a list on DOTD’s upcoming projects, click here.