New Louisiana law restructures DOTD, creates multimodal agency

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Friday, July 18, 2014

A new law in Louisiana restructures the state’s Department of Transportation and Development and creates a new state sub-agency to maximize the state’s multimodal transportation infrastructure.

Gov. Bobby Jindal signed a bill into law that creates the Office of Multimodal Commerce inside the Department of Economic Development. The office will be under the immediate supervision and direction of the commissioner of multimodal commerce appointed by the governor with the consent of the Louisiana Senate.

Starting July 1, 2016, the new law will complete the transfer of powers, duties, and responsibilities for ports, terminals, railroads and aviation, as well as corresponding department employees, equipment, facilities, and funding from the state DOTD to the Office of Multimodal Commerce.

Sen. Norby Chabert, R-Houma, said SB573 represents “a major policy change” in the administration, planning and programming functions in the DOTD relative to ports and harbors, maritime and water transportation systems, railroad expansion and development, commercial trucking, aviation, and intercity public transit.

“Louisiana’s multimodal transportation system impacts almost every element of our lives,” Chabert said in a news release. “The difference between commerce infrastructure and basic transportation needs must be better defined in order to support the state’s most valuable economic engines.

“DOTD’s main focus should be on building and maintaining roads to address the massive backlog of transportation projects in Louisiana.”

Cathy Gautreaux, executive director of the Louisiana Motor Transport Association, says the new office will also provide commercial trucking interests direct input into all aspects of transportation planning.

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