Honoring a President
The Louisiana Legislature in 1992 initially named this project the Zachary Taylor Highway, but a year later lawmakers changed it to the Zachary Taylor Parkway. The name honors the only American President to be elected from Louisiana. Known as "Old Rough and Ready," Zachary Taylor was a 19th century military hero who lived in Baton Rouge in a house overlooking the Mississippi River and also owned a plantation in West Feliciana Parish. Taylor was elected President of the United States in November of 1848. He left Louisiana for Washington, DC, and was inaugurated in 1849. Tragically, he died only16 months after taking office.
TIMED Program Spurs Parkway Development
In 1976, The Luling ferry disaster claimed the lives of 78 victims—a tragedy that spurred efforts to replace Mississippi River ferries with bridges. Two of those spans, the Luling Bridge and the Gramercy Bridge, have since been completed, eliminating ferry services in those areas. Fifty million in funding for a third bridge—to replace the ferry between New Roads and St. Francisville—was included in the Transportation Infrastructure Model for Economic Development (TIMED) program by the Louisiana Legislature and approved by the state’s voters in 1989. The dedication of this funding, which pointed to the fact that this bridge would one day be a reality lay the foundation for the Zachary Taylor Parkway.
Legislature Creates Parkway
In 1992, the Louisiana Legislature created legislation designating this corridor the Zachary Taylor Highway. In 1993, the exact boundaries were determined and the area renamed the Zachary Taylor Parkway.
TIMED Funding Continued
Funding for the transportation projects in the TIMED program comes from an increase of four cents per gallon in the tax on gasoline and other fuels. In 1998, the Legislature voted to extend this tax past its original ending date of December 31, 2004. For supporters of the Zachary Taylor Parkway, this was exciting news since it expanded state funding for the New Roads/West Feliciana bridge to a more realistic figure and extended the TIMED tax for as long as is needed to complete all of the 16 TIMED projects.
Congress Allocates More Money
Some $1.7 million in funding for preliminary studies relating to the four-landing and upgrading of Louisiana Highway 1 and 10—the future Zachary Taylor Parkway route—had been included in the federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991. In 1998, Congress allocated $1 million in federal funds to be spent in connection with the Zachary Taylor Parkway and the Mississippi River bridge. The provision was part of the Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century (TEA 21).