A gas tax bill crafted by a statewide industry group, Louisiana Coalition to Fix Our Roads, and sponsored by Republican Baton Rouge Rep. Steve Carter is the latest proposed solution to the state’s aging, chronically gridlocked transportation infrastructure.
It’s also the most ambitious, according to a Business Report feature. Not only would the bill gradually increase the state’s gasoline tax, but it would levy fees on electric and hybrid vehicles and redirect a temporary, half-cent sales tax to highway and bridge construction projects.
It would also dedicate a portion of the funds to specific, badly needed projects around the state, including a new Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge, a new Calcasieu River bridge in Lake Charles and the completion of Interstate 49 south from Lafayette to New Orleans.
Perhaps most significantly, the bill would ensure all new revenue generated by the taxes and fees go only to construction projects—as opposed to operations at the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development—by safeguarding them in a dedicated subfund of the state’s Transportation Trust Fund.
Though the bill effectively satisfies every problem opponents have had with past efforts to raise the gas tax, it’s likely to face stiff opposition from a coalition of strange bedfellows: Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, who doesn’t want to raise taxes in a year when he’s up for re-election year, and conservative lawmakers, who don’t want to raise taxes ever. Read the full story.