House bill aims to create a tolling authority for Calcasieu Parish

Updated: Apr. 23, 2019 at 5:00 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - If you live in the Lake Area, you’re probably no stranger to the I-10 bridge and the problems it faces.

This year, a task force suggested building an entirely new bridge. But it would come at a cost, adding a toll for drivers to help cover part of the cost. The bridge would be a privately/publicly funded project.

Proposed House Bill 561, authored by Lake Charles Rep. Mark Abraham, would create a toll authority in Calcasieu Parish.

The amount of the toll is still up in the air, though. Abraham says the amount will be the telling factor if this project will succeed.

"If the recommended tolls become too large, then people will not use the tolls and go 210,” Abraham said. “So if that happens we won't be able to do a toll bridge. So, a lot depends on the number that comes back as an acceptable toll, so that people will pay it and not take an alternative route like 210."

Tyler Hickingbottom says he uses the bridge often and is indifferent to the proposition of adding a toll.

“I’d prefer not to but if it happens, it happens,” Hickingbottom said.

Hickingbottom says not all drivers will support the move.

"That's something for us that we've never really had tolls around here,” Hickingbottom said. “So it would be a big change in the traffic environment if we started doing that."

While there are some concerns about tolling - how it would work, and how much it would cost - Abraham feels confident in this project.

“I think it’s a good chance it’s going to happen, but nothing is locked in concrete,” Abraham said. “I believe with money being tight on a state-wide level and on a federal level, tolling is really the wave of the future for Louisiana.”

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