The Louisiana Task Force on Transportation Infrastructure Investment has released a circular that highlights statistics on the state’s investment in transportation and how a recommended $700 million in added “recurring revenue” should be invested in transportation infrastructure.
Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shaw Wilson and the HNTB Corporation’s John Basilica co-chair the task force, which was created last June by Gov. John Bel Edwards to find consistent sources of funding for transportation projects.
In December last year, the task force adopted 10 resolutions that address policy and financing recommendations, with the most significant being the determination that an annual funding increase of $700 million is needed to finance top projects to better serve transportation system users in Louisiana.
The circular is a “byproduct” of the report and follows the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Louisiana Infrastructure Report released this week that gives the state a D+ grade.
“Louisiana has sat idly by for the last 28 years while 44 other states have increased their investment in transportation,” Wilson says. “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 guiding principles of the state’s infrastructure investment plan included in the circular include:
Fix the problem.
Produce adequate additional resources to substantially reduce the backlog of rehabilitation needs and build the capacity/mega projects. Implement indexing to maintain an adequate level of investment.
Dedicate all new revenue to the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).
Ensure any new revenues flow into the TTF to enjoy current constitutional protection from diversion to other needs.
Execute the Louisiana Statewide Transportation Plan (LSTP) – do not reinvent the wheel.
Respect and comply with the LSTP. The programs and projects have been extensively vetted by the public and approved by the legislature.
Ensure infrastructure improvements promote and enhance economic development.
Be forward-thinking and provide infrastructure solutions to attract and support economic expansion and job creation.
Support greater authority and control of project and investment decisions at the local level.
Provide additional resources to the local authorities to address local transportation issues, projects and priorities.
Leverage the use of all available tools for infrastructure investment.
Provide flexibility to promote and employ best practices for alternative delivery methods, innovative financing techniques and public private collaboration.
Employ a balanced approach to investment allocation.
Be balanced to address the full range of transportation infrastructure goals and objectives as well as provide benefits to the many diverse constituencies supported by infrastructure investment, including, but not limited to:
- Preservation of existing facilities and construction of new facilities for congestion relief
- Urban needs and rural needs
- Resources that compliment modes of transportation in addition to roads and bridges
- Debt financing and pay-as-you-go new
The Louisiana Legislature is currently considering a 17-cent fuel tax increase aiming to created $510 million in yearly recurring revenue.