BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — With the budget balanced at least temporarily, Gov. John Bel Edwards has turned more attention to state infrastructure, planning it to be a key initiative for next year's legislative session.

In June, the Democratic governor created an 18-member study group to develop ideas for tackling Louisiana's more than $12 billion road and bridge improvement backlog. Its recommendations are due by Jan. 1.

Edwards said Thursday he wants the study group to consider gas tax hikes, toll roads and public/private partnerships as it devises recommendations to raise more money for roadwork.

He's also planning to steer more dollars from the state's construction budget to transportation projects, plans that still need final approval. And this week, he said new interstate improvements are planned in Baton Rouge and Lafayette to ease traffic problems.


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