Erich Ponti, with the Louisiana Coalition to Fix Our Roads, predicts broad support from legislators across party lines for Baton Rouge Rep. Steve Carter’s bill that aims to, among other things, raise the state’s tax on gasoline and diesel to help fund infrastructure construction projects.
Speaking at today’s Press Club luncheon, Ponti wouldn’t speculate on who the coalition expects to back the bill, filed Friday, but did say the coalition is reaching out to members of the business community and legislators.
He also wouldn’t disclose which area companies are currently part of the coalition, though he repeatedly named Dow Chemical Co. as a company, adding a full list would be made publically available sometime “down the road.” According to an online flyer promoting the coalition, there are more than 70 members of the group, “with a majority serving in leadership roles in various business sectors.”
Speaking generally, Ponti says they’re counting on the support from chambers of commerce, major corporations, Louisiana-based insurance companies, as well as legislators representing areas that have projects identified in the bill.
“We are offering the solution of pushing together as a business community and agriculture community to move this legislation forward and pass this legislation this session,” Ponti says, adding that the Ports Association is among the supporters of the legislation.
Logan Anderson, director of governmental affairs and special projects for the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, hasn’t looked at the bill yet but says he understands the “broad strokes” of the bill and that the organization has previously, and will continue to, champion for increased infrastructure funding.
“BRAC is very supportive of raising funds for transportation,” Anderson says.
Gov. John Bel Edwards, who’s previously said he thinks any gas tax bill will die during the session, was unable to be reached for comment before this afternoon’s deadline.