The secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development says his department needs new revenues to begin construction on the $14.8 billion road and bridge repairs and the $15 billion backlog of new road construction projects.

Dr. Shawn Wilson said the state missed an opportunity to raise the state's gas tax to fund DOTD construction. During that year's legislative session, DOTD and other stakeholders proposed raising the tax by 17 cents. That, Wilson said, would have allowed DOTD to increase the number of construction and repair projects it performs annually. Instead, Wilson says the state is losing value on the tax rate because it has not kept up with inflation.

According to Wilson, the state's gas tax would have increased by 17 cents between 1990 and today had the legislature tied that tax to the rate of inflation. Right now, the tax stands at the 1990 rate of 16 cents per gallon.

You can listen to Bernie and Ian's full conversation with Dr. Wilson, including more details about DOTD's efforts to clear ice from state highways, by clicking the link below.