Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Traffic task force looks for money & solutions

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BATON ROUGE - A group of legislators met Wednesday, trying to find ways to fix the traffic gridlock across the state by finding money for road and bridge projects that have long plagued places like Baton Rouge.

The group hopes to get their ideas together in time to present them to the full legislature before the next session in the spring.

"It's not political interest," said task force chair Rep. Karen St. Germain, (D-Plaquemine). "It's the stuff that public service is supposed to do."

Wednesday was the first meeting of the Transportation Funding Task Force, a panel of legislators and experts tasked with finding solutions on how to pay for major road and transportation projects.

"This is for real. There's not a person in this room or on this task force that doesn't see the necessity for transportation funding," St. Germain said. "We have to get innovative. We have to think out of the box."

The state is facing a huge infrastructure backlog of $12 billion that needs to be addressed.

"Our infrastructure is aging and that backlog is made up of preservation, safety and capacity," said Sherri LeBas, secretary of the Department of Transportation.

The panel heard about what other state's are doing to combat their own infrastructure and funding issues and got a report from DOTD officials on their finances and expenditures.

The next meeting of the task force is scheduled for Oct. 30.


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