Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Proposed bill could fund new Mississippi River Bridge

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BATON ROUGE - Louisiana lawmakers filed a bill this week, that if passed would fund a new Mississippi River Bridge in the capitol area.

As the state sits at a D+ in infrastructure DOTD has said they are always looking for new ways to fund road projects.

"We do agree that we need a sustainable revenue stream, we can always use more money, but the timing and policy have to be correct,” said Rodney Mallett with DOTD.

One project, in particular, is building a bridge, a project Senator Rick Ward is pushing to fund.

"It's arguably one of the biggest things that we need to accomplish in this state you know right here behind us is what we call the new bridge, it's over 60 years old and arguably the biggest bottleneck in the country when talking about I-10," said Ward.

With the bill filed this week by Ward and Senator Paula Davis, money would be reallocated from the .45 percent sales tax to the Constructions Subfund of the Transportation Trust Fund. That money would pay for a list of projects, one being a new Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge.

"What we are really going to do is just take a stream of money already coming in the state and point it in the direction of infrastructure," Ward said.

Ward adding this is something that's long overdue not just for the city but the state.

"Our neighboring states they're building, and we're not, if we are ever going to continue to compete as a state it really starts at our ground level with roads and bridges,” Ward said.

Rick tells WBRZ the bridge would cost about a billion dollars that could be paid for over a span of 10 years and as for the timeline, well it all depends on the Legislature.

"I'm not an engineer, I'm not a construction manager so what the end date of that start would be I don’t know, but I think if we pass this it would but so much closer than ever to getting it done,” Ward said.

The bill is set to go before the committee in the next few weeks. Senator Rick Ward is optimistic, it will pass saying it’s the right time and because it's not raising any taxes.


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