Louisiana House OKs bill intended to fund more road work

| 5/25/2006

A bill that is intended to aid funding efforts for roads and bridges in the state won unanimous approval in the Louisiana House. The bill’s next stop is the state Senate.

Sponsored by Rep. William Daniel IV, R-Baton Rouge, the measure would create a special state fund to make up for funding shortfalls for major transportation projects in the state.

Projects that could be in line for assistance are the proposed loops around Baton Rouge and Lafayette, as well as the completion of Interstate 49, The Advocate reported.

The Louisiana Mobility Fund would get money from deposited grants, gifts and donations received by the state and any other revenues available, whether local, state or federal.

A similar effort offered by Daniel failed a year ago. It called for tripling the fee Louisiana-based truck drivers pay each year to license their trucks.

Daniel later withdrew the bill from consideration citing opposition from the trucking industry. It called for boosting the registration fee for a typical, 80,000-pound, commercial vehicle to $1,512 per year to register in the state – an increase of more than $1,000.

Daniel said he is hopeful that if his newest effort gains passage, the fund would spur economic development throughout the state.

HB299 is in the Senate Transportation, Highways and Public Works Committee.