Louisiana lawmakers call for surplus to be used for roads

| 11/29/2006

The state of Louisiana needs to tap into its estimated $1.6 billion budget surplus to pay for road and bridge work, according to a handful of state legislators. Others want to increase the state's fuel tax or vehicle registration fees and rely more on toll roads.

The group of lawmakers from the Ascension Parish said they will lobby to get half of the estimated surplus dedicated to highways and byways in the state.

A surplus of $827 million is anticipated from the past fiscal year and another $800 million is expected during the current fiscal year.

"I'm not sure how long this extra money is going to last. We need to put it on something we will have for tomorrow," Rep. Eddie Lambert, R-Prairieville, told The Advocate in Baton Rouge.

Long-term solutions for road funding also are needed to help the state match federal transportation dollars that could be in jeopardy by 2009, unless legislators act.

Lambert and his associates said they will push their budget surplus plan during a 10-day special session that begins Dec. 8.