Lawmakers eyeing empty pot of money to fix traffic woes

One bill would build LA 415 connector before Intracoastal

Lawmakers eyeing empty pot of money to fix traffic woes
(Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - At least four bills have been filed that would send money to the construction sub-fund of the Transportation Trust Fund, a currently empty pot of money created by a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2017.

One bill, by Rep. Tanner Magee, R-Houma, would dedicate $50 million from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill settlement over the next six years to road projects, including improvements to LA 1. It would construct a long-talked about connector from LA 1 to LA 415 before the Intracoastal bridge.

The remaining $3 million would go to the construction sub-fund. Rep. Paula Davis, R-Baton Rouge, would essentially cap the sales taxes the state can collect at $4 billion and send any excess to the construction fund.

Rep. Walt Leger, D-New Orleans, has filed two bills that would increase fees imposed on the transport of ocean containers and dedicate the money to the fund as well.

“The people around here are used to having congestion,” said Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin. “But the last couple of weeks have been like nothing I’ve ever seen before.”

Erwin referenced a string of bizarre slowdowns on the interstate caused by accidents, like an emergency plane landing, barges colliding with bridges, and a chase involving Louisiana State Police.

Those issues, coupled with construction delays and major problems on LA 1, have sparked a sense of urgency among Baton Rouge locals to solve their traffic nightmares.

“It’s been talked about for a while, but it finally has some momentum going and I think people are going to pay attention to it,” Erwin said.

Session begins Monday, April 8.

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