Governor John Bel Edwards tells the newly formed transportation task force that revenue options need to be considered to address the state’s nearly $13 billion backlog in highway needs. Edwards says this could mean an increase to the state’s gasoline tax in order to pay for new roads and maintain existing highways.

“We are going to have to explore revenue options to fund this investment. Investment doesn’t happen without the revenue to make it happen,” Edwards said.

Sixteen cents from the state’s gasoline tax goes into a trust fund that pays for highway projects. Edwards says that amount has not been increased in 30 years and that money is only worth about 6 cents in today’s purchasing power.

“So we’re trying to do on 6 cents today what a few decades ago we had 16 cents to do. Given that we have more needs, it just simple doesn’t work,” Edwards said.

The task force will meet throughout the year and will make suggestions to the legislature for the 2017 session on how to increase funding for a better transportation system. He says the work conducted by this group will be very important to the state

“We don’t want to pit one community against the other, or one region against another, or one mode of transportation against the other. We all have needs across the state, and every part of the state deserves better,” Edwards said.