A legislatively-commissioned report released Aug. 5 found that funding for Louisiana’s Transportation Trust Fund (TFF) is not keeping pace with the growing needs the of state’s highways, and additional revenue is required in order to provide necessary maintenance and modernization for transportation infrastructure.
The study by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor determined that the rising cost of inflation, modest growth in state funding, and a decrease in federal funding is creating a shortfall in meeting the state’s transportation funding needs. The audit found that 4.9 percent, or $138 million, of the state’s motor fuel tax between Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 and FY 2014 was used to pay off TIMED (Transportation Infrastructure Model for Economic Development) debt, with an additional $1.2 billion needed over the next 30 years in order to retire the debt. Additionally, 12 percent of the TTF (excluding federal receipts) was used to fund the state police in FY 2014—a policy that was capped during the 2015 legislative session to limit the State Police to $45 million in FY 2016, to $20 million the following year, and to $10 million for every year going forward.
The audit submitted several different methods to increase transportation funding, including “increasing taxes on motor fuels, turn over roads to local governments, dedication of state sales tax, vehicle miles traveled fees, rental car taxes, tolls, public-private partnerships, and selling bonds.”
Ken Perret of the Louisiana Good Roads and Transportation Association advocated for a minimum 10 cents-per-gallon state gas tax increase at the Press Club of Baton Rouge Aug. 3. The increase would raise an estimated $250 to $280 million per year, a small amount to start chipping away at the estimated $12 billion backlog.
“Good roads cost money, but bad roads cost more,” Perret said.
To read the summary by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor, visit: here.
To read the full report, visit: here.