Report Expected This Year For I-49 Expansion Project Using Tolls
Louisiana's politicians have long discussed turning highway 90 into an interstate using the other portions of Interstate 49 and highway 90 all the way from Lafayette to New Orleans. The only problem is how to get the billions of dollars needed to make the change happen. By the end of this year, a report is expected to come out to give advice as to whether or not it is feasible to have tolls pay for part of the project.
The idea of tolls to pay for all or some of the project is one that has been talked about for years now, but we won't know until the end of the year whether or not the study will show that tolls can help to cover the close to five billion dollars that the project will need.
The state Department of Transportation and Development study was called for by the Legislature passed this session. This study comes at the same time that the Lafayette Metropolitan Expressway Commission is researching the option of whether or not tolls are part of the answer. The Expressway Commission has taken the local lead in the search for I-49 funding.
One of the major reasons state officials have long worked for the expansion of Interstate 49 using highway 90 is for hurricane evacuations. They also say it would improve commerce in Louisiana.