Lawmakers considering gas tax to improve Louisiana’s D+ infrastructure

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Grades are in for Louisiana’s infrastructures.

The state received a D+ and now, state lawmakers will consider a proposed gas tax to raise the money to improve that grade.

A 17 cents gas tax has been proposed to help fix roads, bridges and other infrastructures in the state of Louisiana.

It’s money state officials say will come out of your pocket one way or another.

“So you have an option, you can either pay that $2500 to $5,000 on the back end or you can start to invest on the front end and this increase is no more than a cup of coffee a week.” said Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn Wilson.

Thursday morning, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) held its annual spring conference to discuss the grade of the state’s infrastructures.

“When you look at D- and D, those are unacceptable for me,” said Wilson, “So, we’ve looked at a number of ideas and a number of issues. The gas tax has to be it. The need is about $700 million a year.”

President of ASCE, Norma-Jean Mattei, explains that condition isn’t the only thing the grades are based on.

“It has to operate in good condition for your needs now, and into the future,” she said, “And so, if it’s okay now but  not because of growth, because of population shifts, because of preps, economic developments in certain areas, if it’s not going to be able to meet that future capacity then we’re not going to give it as good of grade.”

Acadiana residents will see major changes in their roadways with the money generated from the tax.

“You’re looking at some major I-49 improvements underway, you’re looking at a major I-10 improvement that’s going to widen I-10 from I-49 to the Atchafalaya Basin,” said Wilson, “It’s about a $180 million project.”

Wilson believes a decision will be made on the gas tax in the next few weeks.

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