Transportation May Weigh Heavy On Legislative Session
Transportation is expected to be a major topic in the upcoming regular session. Governor John Bel Edwards says he showed President Barack Obama the single lane of traffic motorists must pass through in Baton Rouge on I-10 when going from west to east. Edwards says he told the president that it was the only place on the 2,460 mile interstate with a single lane.
"That was turning into a bottleneck that was threatening the movement of goods and commerce, and freight, which is the subject matter of the bill Congress passed this year," Edwards said.
Edwards said the president understood the importance of getting some additional work done on I-10.
"We've got a great candidate here in Louisiana, in fact, more than one, for some money from the federal government to help us with that," Edwards added.
Lafayette Senator Page Cortez was chosen to chair the Senate Transportation Committee. He says it’s great news that we could potentially be getting some federal funds to help with Louisiana’s roads. Cortez says another major project for the state is the I-49 connector in Lafayette.
"It's not only a hurricane evacuation route, it's also a major energy corridor," Cortez said."It will be one of the big projects I hope, that over the next four years, we can keep moving forward and advance."
Louisiana has at least a $12 billion dollar backlog in improving its road and bridge system. Cortez says Edwards has committed to work to stop shifting money from the state’s gas-tax funded Transportation Trust Fund to State Police. He says making that happen will be priority number one.
"We have to be honest with the people of the state and spend the tax dollars that are dedicated to certain entities, like the trust fund to roads, we have to spend it on roads," Cortez said. "We can't spend it on State Police."