Gov. Blanco says no tolls for I-10

| Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco said in a speech Friday, Aug. 11, that she no longer supports tolling Interstates 10 and 12.

“I no more want tolls on I-10 and I-12 than I want a hurricane,” she said at the 69th annual meeting of the Louisiana Municipal Association, quoted by The Associated Press.

“I want to assure the people of Louisiana that my administration has no plans to establish a toll on Interstates 10 and 12. It is not going to happen.”

A Blanco spokeswoman was quoted as saying Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Johnny Bradberry had informed the Federal Highway Administration that the state will seek no further action on its previous application to allow tolling on the 400-mile stretch of interstates.

Commuters, truckers and residents are still reeling from the effects of last year’s hurricane season, and so is the state budget.

Blanco said the state continues to look for funding options. The controversial option to toll drew instant fire from residents and lawmakers, including Sen. David Vitter, R-LA.

Vitter issued the following statements in regards to Blanco’s latest announcement.

“The proposal by the Blanco administration to toll all of I-10 and I-12 was very unfair and counterproductive,” Vitter said. “It never should have been considered, much less submitted in writing to the federal government as a concrete proposal.

“Now we all can move forward and work to address our true needs in responsible ways.  I certainly pledged to the governor to do my part in that regard.”

In her recent statements, Blanco pointed out that Vitter had previously voted for legislation to give the state authority to collect tolls on federal highways.

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