SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA (KPLC) - Is it time to hike up Louisiana's gasoline tax to fund needed bridge and highway work?
This question was raised on Tuesday at the Governor's Task Force on Transportation Infrastructure Investment regional meeting in Lake Charles. The meeting brought together the 18-member task force together with industry and community leaders to talk about projects and funding. The task force was here to the region's issues and what needs funding.
It's been more than a quarter century since that tax went up and it ranks as one of the lowest in the nation.
Right now, drivers pay 20 cents in state tax on each gallon of gasoline and diesel. Sixteen cents of that goes to the Louisiana Transportation Trust Fund for DOTD projects. Four cents of that goes to pay off bonds that financed some completed projects.
Gasoline tax hike supporters said it's needed to clear a massive backlog of highway and bridge projects
It will cost about $12 billion to clear the current highway project backlog. Gov. John Bel Edwards created the transportation task force to solve the funding problem.
Their top solution - raising the gasoline tax.
But where would it be raised; how much it would be raised; and is that actually the solution?
The task force opened up the floor to the legislators, parish officials, and business leaders to brainstorm a localized funding method as an alternative to raising the tax.
According to DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson, projects like the I-10 Bridge will never happen without some sort of increase in revenue.
Mayor Randy Roach spoke about how a more localized approach helped in the past.
There has yet to be a clear and solid solution discussed, The deadline is Jan. 1, 2017.