More road money could include tax increase
BATON ROUGE - Fixing traffic issues and interstate tie-ups is one of the top priorities for the Edwards Administration.
Friday, it took some drivers on the interstate about 25 minutes to drive a mile or two. Thousands and thousands of cars and trucks drive in, around and through Baton Rouge daily. Off the interstate and other arteries there's a stack-up.
"You can't go any place," said Baton Rouge driver Willie Hill.
While there's a state project list, the infrastructure in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas to accommodate all the traffic is behind.
"Had we done some of this 10 years ago, 15 years ago, as short as five years ago, we'd be in a different place," said Secretary of DOTD Shawn Wilson.
The state is facing big budget problems. To help fix the traffic issue, the Edwards Administration is proposing a menu of revenue recommendations including a fuel tax increase, sales tax increase, vehicle and truck registration fee adjustments, sales tax on auto parts and repairs, vehicle miles traveled approach for tax determination, and tolls.
According to the taxfoundation.org, at about $0.20 in Louisiana only nine other states have a lower tax. A $0.025 increase would generate about $75 million a year. Taxpayers are reluctant for an increase but if it happens, hope it will pay off in the long run.
"I wouldn't mind," said Devin Hopkins. "Two cents won't hurt. Gas already the price it is, two more cents won't hurt."
"You have got to be disciplined with money, just like getting up and putting your clothes on," said Hill. "You're either going to put them on or you're going out naked."
The money could be used to address interstate issues, including a new bridge. An increase would need a legislature 2/3 majority vote.