Increasing the gas tax is still a viable option to funding the state’s burgeoning backlog of road projects, state House Speaker Taylor Barras told a group of Acadiana residents on Wednesday.
The Advertiser reports that Barras, speaking after a One Acadiana news conference Wednesday, said adjustments to the gas tax may be discussed when lawmakers convene in regular session next month.
There is “some sense” in the House that an increase in the tax may be necessary to meet the long list of unfunded, necessary projects, which now totals $13.1 billion, he says.
Such money must be used for road and bridge projects, Barras said, adding that the money would not be used to addressed the state’s recurring budget gaps.
The Governor’s Task Force on Transportation Infrastructure Investment reported last December that Louisiana needs “a bold and aggressive plan” to meet long-term needs. The most reliable way to fund that would be with the state’s 20-cent portion of the gasoline tax, one of the lowest in the country.
The Edwards administration has suggested the state should generate about $700 million a year to advance those projects, which would require an additional 23 cents per gallon of gasoline.