GONZALES, La. (AP) — Ascension Parish government leaders are close to finalizing a 25-year road improvement plan that would spend $135 million from new sales tax revenue and state highway credits in its first phase.

Parish officials tell The Advocate (http://bit.ly/MLFmcU ) the plan would address overdue road needs in view of Ascension's nearly 40 percent population growth surge from 2000 to 2010.

The first phase of work would focus primarily on bridges and intersection improvements across the parish's central grid of roads to improve the traffic flow.

A proposed half-cent sales tax that would be collected in Ascension's unincorporated areas would provide key funding. Parish officials said they want the sales tax proposition on the Nov. 6 election ballot.

The proposed sales tax would generate $8 million a year.