Louisiana bills would boost toll tag fees

| 4/7/2006

A pair of Louisiana state lawmakers offered measures that would boost certain fees for large trucks and cars to cross the Greater New Orleans Mississippi River bridges on U.S. 90.

Sen. Derrick Shepherd, D-Marrero, sponsored a bill that would double the per-axle fee – from 20 cents to 40 cents – that toll tag users pay to cross the Greater New Orleans bridges, known to drivers in the area as the Crescent City Connection.

Most drivers of large truck with toll tags would pay $2 – up from $1 – while truckers without tags would continue to pay $2.50 to cross the span. Cars with tags would pay 80 cents to cross while non-tagged cars would still pay $1.

All tolls on the bridge would be removed from midnight to 7 a.m.

Officials with the Crescent City Connection have not come out for or against the effort. They are reviewing the fiscal impact of the proposed changes.

A similar effort, sponsored by Rep. Roy Quezaire, D-Donaldsonville, would increase the tolls for tag users to 35 cents per axle to cross the Crescent City Connection. The increase would take effect July 1, 2006, and run through Dec. 12, 2012.

The bill does not specify the toll amount after that time period, The Times-Picayune reported.

Randall Paisant, assistant director of the bridge, said his group has no opinion on the proposals.

“We’re a state agency, we’re not supposed to have opinions,” Paisant told Land Line.

Shepherd’s bill – SB97 – is in the Senate Transportation, Highways and Public Works Committee. Quezaire’s bill – HB415 – is in the House Transportation, Highways and Public Works Committee.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor