Expert on transportation & infrastructure visits Lake Charles - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Expert on transportation & infrastructure visits Lake Charles

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The Interstate 10 Calcasieu River Bridge is perhaps the most scrutinized example of aging and overburdened infrastructure in Southwest Louisiana. 

The Calcasieu Ship Channel and ongoing struggle to keep it dredged is another need to consider, and economic growth is expected to intensify the need for other infrastructure improvements.

Janet Kavinoky is a nationally recognized expert on transportation policy, funding and finance with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

She says without an increase in revenue for transportation, there cannot be any new contracts in 2015.

"... no new federal contracts starting on October 1 of 2015, because there's not enough money coming into the Highway Trust Fund to pay for any new contracts," said Kavinoky.

She says the issue has been studied to death, because no one wants to address what needs to be done to provide funding.

"We support increasing and indexing federal gas and diesel taxes to inflation to pay for that which causes a lot of people to say, 'Are you sure you're from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and you just said you support increasing gas and diesel taxes?' Well yes we do. We believe that's a user fee," said Kavinoky.

She says America's businesses need to be more visible when it comes to explaining the need. Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach agrees.

"What she said was, Congress really needs to hear from the locals -- not just local government -- but they need to hear from the businesses, from the citizens, and the citizens also need to engage in that process, so that they can better understand what the solutions are," said Roach.

Whether people pay it at the pump or per vehicle, Kavinoky says the solution must be technically and politically feasible and sustainable.

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