Skip to Content
Streetsblog Chicago home
Streetsblog Chicago home
Log In
Streetsblog Chicago

Louisiana Raids Its Maintenance Fund to Pay for Road Expansions

This year, Louisiana will raid $21.6 million from its road maintenance fund to pay for road projects, including some expansions, that have been on the books since 1989. The state will have to keep stealing from the fund for the next 27 years to pay for them.

Two projects, including the construction of a new four-lane highway connecting I-12 to Bush, Louisiana, continue to cost the state dearly, 26 years after they were approved. Image: ##http://wwwapps.dotd.la.gov/administration/public_info/projects/home.aspx?key=88##Louisiana DOTD##
Two projects, including the construction of a new four-lane highway connecting I-12 to Bush, Louisiana, continue to cost the state dearly, 26 years after they were approved. Image: Louisiana DOTD
false

Voters approved a package of 16 road and bridge projects under a pay-as-you-go model 26 years ago. Two of the projects, both in the New Orleans area, are still underway, according to a report by The Advocate:

Meanwhile, leaders have long since concluded that financing the improvements through a special, 4-cents-per-gallon tax was not enough.

The original price tag for the projects was $1.4 billion. The latest estimate is $5.2 billion.

“It is unbelievable,” said state Sen. Bodi White, R-Central, who is often involved in Baton Rouge-area highway projects.

State officials say construction will last up to 10 years, and taxpayers will be shelling out for these roads long after building has ended. Since the 4-cents-a-gallon tax fund the state is authorized to use for these projects is insufficient, the state is digging into a fund that’s supposed to cover ordinary road maintenance in the region. The raids will recur annually for the next 27 years, starting at $21.6 million this year and ending at an estimated $87.6 million in 2044.

“It was ill-conceived,” Republican Sen. Dale Erdey, a veteran member of the Senate Transportation Committee, told The Advocate. “They told Joe Public that it would be a pay-as-you-go-type situation, and of course, that was totally off base.”

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Chicago

We are all in an underperforming Chicagoland transit network. But some of us are looking at the Star:Line.

According to Star:Line Chicago, "The 2034sight Plan is an ambitious — and achievable — ten-year framework to lay the groundwork to modernize Chicagoland’s existing local passenger rail system."

July 19, 2024

A semi driver fatally struck a person walking on Lower Wacker Drive. Did a locked gate contribute to the crash?

The victim may have been walking in the street because a gate limiting pedestrian access on the south side of Wacker was locked at the time.

July 19, 2024

This is Grand! CDOT cuts ribbon on new protected bike lanes on a key West Side diagonal street

The project also has lots of other nifty Complete Streets features, like raised crosswalks, bus islands, and the conversion of a dangerous slip lane to a new plaza.

July 18, 2024
See all posts