Proposed gas tax aims to fund backlogged road projects
BATON ROUGE - A grassroots campaign to fix Louisiana's struggling infrastructure is taking its initiative to the state capitol.
"Happy anniversary everybody. It's been 30 years, and Louisiana has done absolutely nothing," Louisiana Coalition to Fix Our Roads spokesperson Erich Ponti said at the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday afternoon.
The bill sponsored by State Rep. Steve Carter would leverage increased gas taxes to help fix the nearly $14 billion in backlogged DOTD projects.
"[We will] educate our citizens on how bad that bridge is your children just crossed in that school bus, how bad the roads are that you take to work every day, or go to church, or wherever, coming home every day, how dangerous those roads and bridges are," Ponti said.
If the bill passes, drivers would be paying an extra 6 cents this year, increasing to 18 cents per gallon by 2031. Frustrated drivers say it's worth it.
"Definitely would be [worth it] for a little bit higher gas prices to control that a little bit," Elliot Hoerdeman said.
"I mean of course there's a threshold to how much, but I would pay a little extra to make it somewhat better," Falesity Mecca said.
But based on the fate of similar bills like this in past years, Louisiana legislators would seem to disagree. A 2017 gas hike died in the house without even one vote.
The coalition to fix our roads says 2019 is the perfect time to introduce this bill, especially since there is an upcoming election.
"Those seeking reelection, those seeking election... Hold them accountable. we have horrible roads and bridges. What are you going to do? What are you going to support?" Ponti said.