A Louisiana House panel has unanimously approved a bill that
would allow the state to partner with private business to build toll roads and
The House Transportation, Highways and Public Works
Committee voted May 1 to advance the bill to the full House for consideration.
If approved there, it will move to the Senate for consideration.
Sponsored by Rep. Roy Quezaire, D-Donaldsonville, the bill
initially applied to projects, dubbed “megaprojects,” costing at least $250
million, The Times-Picayune reported. However, that threshold amount was
withdrawn in committee.
Affected projects could include the expansion of Interstate
10 or the completion of the southern leg of Interstate 49 from Lafayette to the
West Ban Expressway in New Orleans.
The bill – HB1294 – would authorize the Louisiana
Transportation Authority to work out details with private groups to build
roads, bridges or expand an existing facility, The Times-Picayune reported. The private business would keep toll revenue in exchange for upkeep.
Any state project by a private contractor would go before
the House and Senate transportation panels for a review hearing. However,
lawmakers couldn’t reject proposed deals.