Nagin Wants to Sell New Orleans Airport to Louisiana

BATON ROUGE -- New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said Monday he wants the governor to place more emphasis in the state budget on the city's recovery and would like to sell the Louis Armstrong International Airport to the state. In a wide-ranging...

Nagin has said he would like to sell the airport for the right price to any interested buyer, but Monday he took a new turn and recommended selling the airport to the state to lay the groundwork for an expansion that would create a regional airport.

"I think it's a better option if we could somehow figure out a way for the state to step in, provide the city of New Orleans with some kind of revenue stream that's adequate compensation, and then we turn that airport into something special, that rivals O'Hare (in Chicago) or DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth)," Nagin said. "You can't get it cheap, but we're willing to talk with you about that particular initiative."

Rail line pushed

Nagin said a rail link on existing train lines could create a commuter corridor between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, capitalizing on an "Interstate 10 economy." The rail line could come sooner than a more expensive, long-term proposal that some have made for a new light rail system, he said.

Nagin asked for state support to improve 12 miles of city streets as evacuation routes and said he supports other state road projects to improve storm evacuations.

Based on an existing state program to encourage film industry investment in Louisiana, Nagin wants a state incentive program to assist New Orleans theaters in attracting stage shows that are preparing to open on Broadway in New York.

To make Louisiana more competitive with Texas and other Southeastern states, the mayor recommended phasing out the state's personal income tax over five years and moving more quickly to phase out taxes on business investment.

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