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DOTD says inflation could limit number of projects taken on
BATON ROUGE - Major plans for Louisiana's roadways are being announced left and right, but DOTD is hitting a bigger roadblock than expected.
“Two projects had been rejected," said DOTD Secretary of Transportation Shawn Wilson. "Both projects, matter of fact, were 49 and 48 percent above the estimate. That would have amounted to an additional 50 million dollars of state resources for this year."
The department announced Thursday that a plan to repair I-20 through Bossier City had to be rejected and re-bid because the estimated cost for construction was higher than anticipated. A timeline on when the project will be re-bid has not been determined.
“We rejected those bids, recognizing that there are issues we need to modify and address, but the great tragedy here if you will, is this wealth of resources of investment is only going to spur additional inflation," Wilson said.
Plans like the I-10 widening project and a new bridge over the Mississippi River could also face the threat of setbacks, according to Wilson.
“As a result of that, there may not be projects that get funded in this calendar year, but they’ll be the first ones in the next year," Wilson said.
The primary factors driving the cost up are labor and raw materials.
“The reason for those increases had more to do with available truck drivers and equipment, it had to do with the price of materials. And I think it’s only going to become more difficult going forward," Wilson said.
Wilson added the recently-signed bi-partisan infrastructure law could make getting the necessary equipment even more difficult.
"You have a large amount of money about to be poured into the economy as a result of the bi-partisan infrastructure law which allows us to make unprecedented investment. That’s going to have the typical effects of supply and demand on the economy," Wilson said.
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