DOTD Secretary Explains The Benefits Of A Higher Gas Tax In Louisiana
You get what you pay for. If you aren't willing to pay chances are you won't get much. This applies to Louisiana's roads and bridges. If you haven't noticed they aren't that good. In fact, our roads were ranked as the 8th worst in the country. You might ask why?
Our state is one of five states that has not adjusted how revenue is raised and adjusted for road improvements over the past 30 years. That's sad. That's maleficence in office if you ask me but enough about state legislative sessions that amounted to little more than padding expense accounts.
How much will it cost to bring Louisiana's roads and bridges into respectable shape? Current estimates suggest only $700 million. Other than winning the Powerball the state's legislators are going to have to figure this one out. By figure it out I mean they are going to have to find a way to make you and I pay for their years or poor management.
Cost of doing business has gone up, and we have not kept up with the times. When we passed our gas tax in 1989, it was 16-cents. We’ve lost about 56% of its value due to inflation.
So, how much does the average citizen in Louisiana pay in gas taxes every year? $108 is the average. If you're wondering how much that would be in "government money" the formula is basically every penny in taxes is worth $30 million to the DOTD.
Five cents only gives me $150 million. I cannot deliver the system that they’re asking me to deliver for $150 million. I’ll take what we can get, but I also want to manage expectations.
If I am doing the math correctly $150 million is a lot less than the $700 million projected to actually fix the problem. There is a proposal to add an additional .23 cents per gallon tax to gasoline in the state. That would give the DOTD the funds it needs to fix the roads and bridges.
If the average price of a gallon of regular gas about $1.88 then .23 cents in additional tax would be $2.11, We've certainly paid higher prices. I think the bigger issue is if the legislature sees this extra money coming into the state's coffers they're going to start licking their chops to raise even more taxes or worse find ridiculous ways to waste the money generated.
So, what do you think? Are you willing to pony up an additional $2.30 on an average fill up to drive on roads that won't shake your fenders off? If you've got an opinion you might want to let your representatives and senators know what you think. Because if you don't they'll probably put a Band-Aid on our roads and take the money from our schools.