Caddo Commissioners Roy Burrell and Mario Chavez talk about the current state of the I-49 Inner City Connector plan and whether the Amazon announcement might speed up the highway's final okay.

"The Governor campaigned on I-49," says Burrell, explaining the continued delays in moving forward with the thoroughfare, "And I plan to hold him to it."

But the Commissioner explains that a biggest reason for the inaction is "political pushback."

"In Allendale, you have strong, committed organization that is behind this - I'm going to say it - it's community renewal. There's a lot of strong people in there and I think that's why we're at a hold up," says Burrell, then mentioning the influence of longtime Inner City Connector opponent Representative and former Mayor, Cedric Glover.

Then Commissioner Chavez reinforces the idea that the road would be economically advantageous. "When I drive south on 49, I drive around Alexandria, I drive around Natchitoches. Look at Dallas and Houston. You drive the interstates though those places...those cities have exploded because of the thoroughfares through the communities.

And what about claims that the Inner City Connector would cause special disdvantage to the black community? "And let me say this as a black leader and a representative that's been dealing with this now...over twenty years. I am tired of hearing about these so-called black neighborhoods. It was a black neighborhood before the Fair Housing Act. Now you can live anywhere you want if you can afford it.

"And when you identify something as a black neighborhood, you get less economic development, you get less policing. So, it's time-out for that type of thinking."

LOOK: Here are the biggest HBCUs in America

More than 100 historically Black colleges and universities are designated by the U.S. Department of Education, meeting the definition of a school "established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans."

StudySoup compiled the 20 largest historically Black colleges and universities in the nation, based on 2021 data from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics. Each HBCU on this list is a four-year institution, and the schools are ranked by the total student enrollment.

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