BATON ROUGE, LA – Today, as co-chairs of the Task Force on Transportation Infrastructure Investment, DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson, Ph.D. and Industry Executive John Basilica released a circular entitled “Transportation Infrastructure Investment Plan.” A byproduct of the Task Force report, the document highlights key facts and statistics about Louisiana’s existing investment in transportation and specifies how the recommended $700 million in additional recurring revenue would be strategically invested. The recommended investment is tied to the Louisiana Statewide Transportation Plan. The co-chairs also unveiled district profile sheets for each member of the legislature, articulating needs by legislative district and which projects could be constructed in the upcoming fiscal year with additional revenue.
The release follows the American Society of Civil Engineers’ April 26th presentation of its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, an independent process where each state is graded based on technical analysis of its infrastructure system which includes grades on roads, bridges, ports and aviation. The ASCE report can be found here.
“Louisiana has sat idly by for the last 28 years while 44 other states have increased their investment in transportation,” said Wilson. “Unfortunately, we’ve earned our poor rankings, but we can change our standing and act now to build a better Louisiana or accept the rapidly diminishing conditions that will strangle economic development and quality of life.”
“The facts make an indisputable case for action, and today is about making sure these facts are known to the people of Louisiana and their elected officials so that sustainable solutions can prevail,” said Basilica.
The news comes as the Louisiana Legislature looks to consider a 17 cent fuel tax increase, which would generate approximately $510 million in annual recurring revenue. While not the $700 million recommended by the Task Force, if indexed properly, enough revenue can be generated to meet the State’s needs.
Without additional transportation revenues, Louisiana will be unable to secure currently available federal transportation funds, sending federal tax dollars paid by Louisiana citizens to other states, for the very first time. If Congress and the Trump Administration act to increase the federal investment in transportation, existing state transportation funds are insufficient for Louisiana to participate in new programs. Facing similar scenarios, several states have recently or are in the process of raising their fuel taxes, most recently Tennessee.
“The need is great, and the time is now,” said Basilica.
The circular and district profile sheets* can be accessed here.
*Note the amount of road miles and bridges in the district profile sheets are limited to those inside the boundaries of the district. Because megaprojects are of regional significance, district profiles include the A and B megaprojects in respective regions. Similarly, the multimodal assets listed in each profile are those that service respective constituents based on proximity.