Proposed law would create ‘tolling authority’ for new Calcasieu River Bridge

Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 9:28 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - It has been reported that tolls are a high possibility for the new Calcasieu River Bridge.

State Sen. Mark Abraham (R - Lake Charles) told 7News a bill he filed will create a tolling authority that will have a say in many aspects of the potential expense.

“I thought it was prudent that to put this toll authority in place so that if we have to have a toll, we’re going to have a tolling authority where we have some authority here in Calcasieu Parish,” Abraham said.

In addition to tolls, Abraham said the tolling authority will be involved in the management and construction of the bridge. He said the Public Private Partnership will first have to be approved, which creates the toll.

“They would present us with the toll amount, right,” Abraham said. “We could go along with that toll amount, we could say no that is not correct. If we went to the House and Senate Transportation Committee, they might say ‘no that’s too much’. So, those are all steps that protect the citizens of Calcasieu Parish if and when we had to do a toll.”

Abraham said he is working with the governor and the Department of Transportation to try and create a “shadow toll,” meaning residents in the five-parish area would not have to foot the bill. He said the tolling authority is a proactive measure.

“I think there is just a lot of different issues the tolling authority has to be involved with to make sure we are protecting the rights of the citizens,” Abraham said. “That’s the most important thing.”

The tolling authority would be made up of seven to nine members from the neighboring cities, police jury and legislators.