Funding options considered for Louisiana roads and bridges

| 7/27/2005

Louisiana’s transportation director says state officials are discussing how to raise new dollars to improve roads and bridges in the state.

Secretary Johnny Bradberry told news reporters Wednesday, July 20, that options for chipping away at an $11 billion backlog of highway work in the state includes higher fuel taxes, tolls, fees, permits and public-private partnerships.

“There are a whole array of things we are going to be looking at,” Bradberry told The Advocate in Baton Rouge.

Bradberry said with the roughly $400 million a year now allocated to highways, it will take decades to catch up.

He told reporters he intends to run all of the options by Gov. Kathleen Blanco. He declined to say which one is the most likely option, The Times-Picayune reported.

Bradberry said an extra $200 million per year is the minimum needed for the agency.

“It would seem to be that $200 million is the place to start,” he told reporters.

With state legislative work already wrapped up for the year, lawmakers could only consider a tax increase for highways next year during a special session, or in 2007. State rules prohibit new taxes and other revenue measures from being approved in regular legislative sessions in even-numbered years.