State Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson says Louisiana may need to consider tolls as way to pay for major highway construction projects. He says the state cannot rely on federal money to cover the costs for big ticket items.

“Governor Edwards and myself are very supportive of tolling as an option to fund transportation and to fund projects that are significant compared to perhaps just depending on federal dollars to make that happen,” Wilson said.

Wilson made the comments during a meeting of the House Transportation Committee as they were talking about a resolution that directs the state transportation department to conduct a study on feasibility of tolling highways and bridges. During the discussion, Wilson says tolls will only work on roads with heavy volume.

“In order for tolling to work, you have to have traffic, and it’s not applicable everywhere. Just because it’s a road does not mean it needs to be tolled, and we do have some very valid and viable locations for tolling,” Wilson said.

The state is also facing a $13 billion backlog on bridge and road repairs. Wilson says tolls could be an option to pay for a portion of a major highway project.

“If it can get us 20 or 30% of the way, then we 20 to 30% closer to some of those major projects and just needing to put together a full financial package,” Wilson said.