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Author Topic: New Funding For Louisiana Transportation Projects???  (Read 3301 times)

Anthony_JK

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New Funding For Louisiana Transportation Projects???
« on: May 06, 2015, 08:36:56 AM »

It seems like even the traditionally fiscally conservative Louisiana State Legislature may have had enough complaints about lack of funding for highway/transportation projects, and are finally wising up to the notion of actually raising revenue for it. And this actually includes some good news for Lafayette's portion of the Interstate 49 South project, among others.


The report, from the Baton Rouge Advocate today:


Quote
Despite massive hurdles, a Louisiana House committee Tuesday approved two tax hike bills that would raise nearly $1 billion per year for roads and bridges.

One of the proposals — House Bill 778 — would increase the state sales tax by 1 cent,with the $675 million per year earmarked mostly for 16 projects statewide.

That list includes a new bridge over the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge that would connect La. 1 and La. 30, upgrades to the Port of New Orleans and improvements to Interstate 49 between Lafayette and Broussard.

It would raise about $7 billion over 10 years, and then it is supposed to expire.

The other measure — House Bill 777 — would boost the state gasoline tax by 10 cents per gallon and raise about $300 million per year.

The sales tax hike, with little discussion, won approval in the House Ways and Means Committee without objection.

The boost in the gas tax passed 7-3.

Both now face action in the full House, where two-thirds support -— a daunting 70 votes -— is required for the plans to move to the state Senate.


The 16 projects that would be funded under these bills are listed here; they include the following:


1) A new Mississippi River bridge crossing just south of Baton Rouge near Addis/Gardere, connecting LA 1 and LA 30;
2) A new two-lane elevated segment of LA 1 between Golden Meadow and Leeville;
3) 4-laning of LA 3127 between LA 70 near Donaldsonville and LA 3213 near Gramercy;
4) Completion of I-49 South from I-10 in Lafayette through Broussard, including the I-49 Connector segment through Lafayette and the freeway upgrade of US 90 further south through Broussard;
5) Widening to 6-lanes I-10 through Lake Charles, including reconstruction/widening of the I-10 Calcasieu River bridge;
6) 4-laning of LA 1 between White Castle and Donaldsonville;
7) Completion of the 6-laning of I-12 between Baton Rouge and Slidell, through filling the gaps east of Satsuma through Hammond to Mandeville, and Airport Road to the I-10/I-12/I-59 junction;
8) Construct the I-49 Inner City Connector through downtown Shreveport (pending a final decision on whether to run it through downtown or via LA 3132/I-220);
9) Widening I-20 through Monroe to 6 lanes (from LA 546 to LA 594);
10) Reconstruct the southern semicircle of the Alexandria/Pineville Beltway as a 4-lane arterial via relocating LA 28;
11) Replace the Belle Chase Tunnel on LA 23 with a 4-lane high span bridge;
12) Reconstruct the I-10/Loyola Avenue interchange to serve the new Louis Armstrong NOLA International Airport terminal now scheduled for construction;
13) 4-lane US 84 between Archie (the terminus of LA 28) and Ferriday (the junction with US 425);
14) 4-lane LA 30 in Gardere/Gonzales between LA 43 and I-10;
15) Construct Phases II and III of the Napoleon Avenue Containers for the Port of New Orleans; and
16) Construct and complete the New Orleans Rail Gateway project.


The first bill noted, HR 778, would use a 1 cent sales tax increase to fund those 16 projects. The second bill, HR 777, calls for a 10 cent increase in the gas tax, bringing in over $300 million a year in revenue, which would provide some long term funding for the future. It would also invest $100 million in a special trust fund that would be available to local governments through low-interest loans for highway and bridge projects.


The bills do face a dim future in the full House, where a two-thirds majority (70 votes) would be needed for passage (along with having to go through the state Senate); as well as the veto threat of Governor Bobby Jindal, whom has said repeatedly he would veto any tax increases not offset by spending cuts elsewhere.


But at least, it's a sign that even rock-ribbed fiscal conservatives are catching on that Louisiana needs to step up its transportation funding.


Reaction, everyone??
« Last Edit: May 06, 2015, 08:41:41 AM by Anthony_JK »
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cjk374

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Re: New Funding For Louisiana Transportation Projects???
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2015, 07:05:43 PM »

If I were an elected representative, I would vote for both bills and threaten to give the governor an ass beating if he vetoes them. We are in desperate need of these revenue streams to get these projects completed.  (Yes I know you can't whoop the governor's ass...but it would definitely get his attention.  :sombrero: )
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nexus73

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Re: New Funding For Louisiana Transportation Projects???
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2015, 07:23:35 PM »

If Jindal wants spending cuts elsewhere, how about ending The War On Some Drugs?  That will free up multiple millions.  Too bad he is such a social conservative Republican instead of a libertarian one.  Louisiana would be a literal hothouse for growing MJ and then instead of paying taxes for prisoners, taxes would be collected from selling the MJ and more taxes would come in from those who work in that field.

Rick
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jbnv

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Re: New Funding For Louisiana Transportation Projects???
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2015, 11:43:10 PM »

The sales tax increase is a good idea and has my full support. (I'm a Fair-Taxer.)

As for the gas tax, I hope that projection accounts for the gas sales that will take place in Texas and other states instead of Louisiana once the price of gas goes up here. It would probably be better if they could localize it to just places where drivers may not want to gamble waiting to get out of the state. I'd try it along I-10 between the Atchafalaya Basin and the Pearl River, along all of I-12, and in all of Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Slidell.
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mcdonaat

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Re: New Funding For Louisiana Transportation Projects???
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2015, 04:21:07 PM »

How would you reroute LA 28? It's a pretty important corridor inside the city limits of Pineville AND Alexandria. I'm assuming that the legislature wants to create a bypass of the highway, but a new bridge would have to skirt in between the old IP mill and the southern end of Wardville, where vacant land is, or just shoot way south of Kolin community.

Would LA 28 still be two lanes between LA 1207 and US 84, though, for the time being? I know that the ROW is purchased between the Diversion Canal and the beginning of curves along that route, so a four-lane wouldn't be TOO difficult, but it seems odd that two projects specific to one non-Interstate corridor are being thrown out there.

pctech

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Re: New Funding For Louisiana Transportation Projects???
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2015, 02:04:20 PM »

What, no reconstruction of the 10-110 kluge interchange? I don't support raising sales taxes, but I would support increase fuel taxes(indexed to inflation), end looting the transportation trust fund, perhaps higher fee on heavy trucks as cause the most damage to the system.
Jindal will veto all of the listed taxes to maintain his "ideological purity"....so it's likely doomed.
Some of these projects, such a bypass of Baton Rouge should have tolls considered also
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Anthony_JK

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Re: New Funding For Louisiana Transportation Projects???
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2015, 12:24:43 PM »

Bumped for an update:

Unfortunately, neither one of the proposals mustered enough support in the state House to reach the two-thirds majority threshold needed to override a promised Jindal veto, so only short-term temporary funding to hold up this year's program was passed.

With that in mind, the idea of using tolls to pay for highway projects is being revived, primarily by current US Senator (and soon, more than likely, to be Louisiana's next governor) David Vitter. Here he is being quoted on the prospects of funding the I-49 South extension from Lafayette to New Orleans:

Quote
Vitter suggested Louisianians ought to be open to imposition of a toll on U.S. 90 as a way to raise funds and quicken the pace of the I-49 completion.

Full article from Lafayette Advertiser here:

http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/local/acadiana/2015/06/08/can-feds-find-funds-energy-corridors-finish/28708511/
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jbnv

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Re: New Funding For Louisiana Transportation Projects???
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2015, 09:23:46 PM »

Cheap, fast, good: pick two.
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