The Louisiana Survey says 67 percent of Louisiana residents would support raising the gas tax by five cents to pay for road projects and infrastructure repairs. Director of LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab, Dr. Mike Henderson, says it’s a bipartisan public sentiment that reflects the survey’s other revelation that infrastructure is a top two concern for voters.

“You have a majority of both Democrats and Republicans who support that level. Democrats are a little stronger than Republicans in their support, but across all of these different parties you have support.”

The report found that when respondents were informed that the gas tax was 38.5 cents when combining local and federal rates, support declined to 61 percent.

While a five cent tax is widely popular, the poll showed a major drop in support for a potential 20 cent gas tax hike, down to 46 percent. Henderson says deriving the optimal level of gas tax as supported by the public may be difficult for lawmakers.

“We know that the ideal mix of the threshold of as far as you can stretch the public is between five cents and twenty cents, which admittedly is a big range.”

Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter is proposing a gas tax that would raise the rate six cents in the first year, and rise to an 18 cent increase over ten years.

Previous gas tax proposals have fallen flat at the Capitol, and Henderson says while there may be substantial public support for the policy, don’t hold your breathe on it making it into law…

“You can get public support pretty comfortably, but it is not always as seamless to translate public support into legislative action. The legislators might themselves take a different view of it.”

Louisiana has the 7th lowest gas tax in the nation. A five cent hike would push it to 32nd lowest, and a 20 cent hike would see the state nearly crack the top ten highest gas taxes.

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