Local bridge authority OK’d in Louisiana; it could impose tolls

| Friday, July 20, 2007

With transportation officials in Louisiana struggling to find money to pay for road and bridge projects throughout the state, Gov. Kathleen Blanco signed a bill into law to help foot the bill for a bridge over the Ouachita River.

The new law, previously HB626, authorizes the creation of the Ouachita Expressway Authority. It allows the expressway authority to sell bonds to build a fourth bridge over the river separating Monroe and West Monroe. The authority also would have power to levy a tax to help pay for the bridge project that will link state Route 143 with U.S. 165.

Voters would need to approve the tax increase.

With a price tag of about $110 million, the project wouldn’t necessarily be a toll road, The News Star in Monroe, LA, reported. The bill gives the authority power to borrow money and dedicate revenues to paying off bonds without requiring voter approval.

The authority also will have the ability to take land by eminent domain and acquire land by negotiation with landowners. It will be subject to all state public bid and ethics laws, The News Star reported.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Louisiana from 2007, click here.

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