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Candidates Plan to Get Stalled Road Projects Moving Again


Louisiana’s backlog of unfunded road and bridge projects sits at between $12-billion and $14-billion. How do the candidates for governor propose to catch up, and pay for new roadwork needs?

“Make it a priority in the Capital Outlay Budget, so that we’re going to provide particular projects in Capital Outlay a much higher percentage than we have right now to go to the backlog and the problem of preventive maintenance and road repair,” Jay Dardenne says.

He also wants new industry coming into the state sharing in the cost of the roads they’ll need.

“The private sector, particularly those who are benefiting from the incentives we’re giving them, are going to participate in the infrastructure needs, upgrades that may be necessary to accommodate this new economy.”

Scott Angelle wants local governments to have more say in the process.

“The only way to move past where we are now is to decentralize DOTD,” Angelle maintains.

“We’ve put the shackles on our 64 parishes, and we don’t let them raise money for transportation infrastructure.”

Angelle says allowing local governments to build their own toll roads is one way to get more projects done.

“I believe that there is an opportunity for us to embrace public-private partnerships on tolls.”

David Vitter says, “I would develop a specific highway infrastructure building program, tied to specific revenue; get it done on an expedited basis.”

When pressed for more information on his ideas for revenue streams to fund these expedited projects, Vitter responded, “Are all the details of that worked out? Of course not.”

John Bel Edwards says, as this is something he’s grappled with in the Legislature for the past eight years, he would attack the problem systematically—incorporating many of the other candidates’ ideas.

“We need to allocate an additional 25% of the Capital Outlay budget every year for transportation infrastructure needs. We will look for public-private partnerships, study the feasibility of tolls, and only when we see that we don’t have enough revenue necessary to address the backlog, we will then sit down and look at an additional dime on the gas tax.”

But, he cautions, “The fact of the matter is there’s not a stretch of road in Louisiana where tolls are feasible, because the volume of traffic just won’t support it.”