BATON ROUGE – On Tuesday, the Governor’s Task Force on Transportation Infrastructure Investment unanimously adopted the actionable recommendations that will be included in a report to the Governor by the end of the year. Today’s action is a culmination of over six months of meetings held in communities across the State as Task Force members sought input on how best to solve the State’s multimodal transportation needs.
The 10 resolutions include various policy and financing recommendations for addressing the State’s multimodal transportation needs for the Governor to consider as he plans for the 2017 Regular Legislative Session. Most notably, the Task Force has determined that an annual increase of $700 million for transportation is necessary and required in order to finance the important A and B megaprojects across the State and to better serve all users of the transportation system in both urban and rural areas of the state. The other resolutions establish a thoughtful framework within which to generate and strategically invest the new revenue.
“When the Task Force was formed, we were charged with making recommendations to address Louisiana’s multimodal infrastructure needs in a meaningful way and we have met that charge through these resolutions,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “The average driver in Louisiana only pays $108 per year in state gas tax, which has lost purchasing power every year since it was last adjusted in 1990. It takes funding to construct the dozens of key projects that are needed to improve safety, address congestion and facilitate economic development across the State. The time has come to do something about it. We can’t afford to standby any longer.”
“Given President-elect Trump’s discussions at the federal level about investing in the nation’s transportation infrastructure, State action to raise revenue for transportation is even more critical,” Wilson added. “Louisiana is not prepared to participate fully in new federal funding opportunities strictly due to limited revenue needed to successfully compete, match, and draw down additional federal funds.”
Gov. Edwards will review the Task Force report and determine what the Administration will submit to the State Legislature in the 2017 regular Session.
Louisiana has a more than $13 billion backlog in state highway and bridge needs, plus another $16 billion is needed to address bigger projects outlined in the Statewide Transportation Plan. These projects include: widening I-10 in Baton Rouge and New Orleans; construction of I-49 South in Lafayette, I-12 on the Northshore; and I-20 in Shreveport and Monroe; replacing the I-10 Bridge over the Calcasieu River in Lake Charles; and a new bridge across the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge.
The task force is co-chaired by Secretary Wilson and Maj. Gen. John Basilica, vice president and Gulf Coast district leader for HNTB Corporation.
In June 2016, Governor Edwards announced the formation of the task force. The group’s task was to find investment solutions to address transportation needs in Louisiana and to make recommendations to the Governor for legislative action by January 1, 2017. For more information, please visit the Task Force web page.
Over 750 business leaders and citizens participated in regional task force meetings to offer input. These meetings were held in New Orleans, Shreveport, Lake Charles, Houma, Lafayette, Monroe, Alexandria, Baton Rouge and Houma.