Louisiana group wants sponsors for gas tax, bond program

Transportation coalition “Driving Louisiana Forward is seeking legislative sponsors for Louisiana state constitutional amendments that would raise the gasoline tax and establish a $3 billion bond program for highway efforts, The Bond Buyer, a daily finance newspaper, reported.

The coalition said the additional funding is needed to resolve a $12.8 billion backlog of road and bridge projects, according to the The Bond Buyer report.

The advocacy group – composed of highway construction contractors, engineering firms, equipment dealers, and material suppliers – would finance the effort with an increase in the state fuels tax to 30 cents per gallon from the current 20 cents, the Bond Buyer reported.

The group also wants to hike vehicle registration fees to support $3 billion of revenue bonds that would allow the effort to get under way quickly upon approval.

Mike Bruce, chairman of Driving Louisiana Forward, which is pushing the two proposals, said in “We know this is an uphill climb but we believe that people want and demand a better highway system,” said in an Advocate Capitol News Bureau report.

State Treasurer John Kennedy is skeptical of the proposal. “I don’t believe it would pass in the Legislature,” he said in The Bond Buyer report. “I believe before we ask the taxpayers for more money for roads, we need to do a better job ourselves.”