Report shows Louisiana Transportation Trust Fund can’t support infrastructure needs

Louisiana currently has a $15 billion backlog for road/bridge projects, including $3 billion in NELA.
Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 10:09 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - A new report from the Legislative Auditor says Louisiana’s gas tax is not bringing in enough money to repair the state’s roads and bridges.

“We have to think more long-term or be prepared to accept that we will be able to fund less than what we perhaps desire to have,” Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) Secretary Shawn Wilson said.

The report blames Louisiana’s 20-cent gas tax, which has not been raised in 32 years.

“We supported a right sizing of the gas tax in 2017, and we still think that is a viable alternative,” explained Secretary Wilson.

The report shows the state’s Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) could lose $563 million over the next ten years. However, Wilson said it is important to understand that funds are coming from other pots of money.

“We have passed a vehicle sales tax. We have had unprecedented one-time funding allocated from ARP and CRSSA, and Governor Edwards has been very infrastructure friendly,” said Wilson.

Despite that, DOTD said they are facing a $15 billion backlog for road and bridge projects around the state.

“It’s not a result of not spending money or spending it in the right locations,” Wilson explained in a phone interview. “It’s a result that our system is deteriorating at a rate faster than our investments.”

Wilson adds that 20% of those projects are here at home.

“The Northeastern part of our state has a large number of rural bridges, bridges that are not federal-aid-eligible and that accounts for $3 billion of our backlog,” said Wilson.

KNOE reached out to several lawmakers to see if they would support raising the gas tax but did not hear back.