Department of Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson says, after meeting with residents in each region of the state, there seems to be growing support for increasing the state's gas tax. He says people realize that bigger investments need to be made in Louisiana's roads and bridges.
"At all of the meetings there was a pretty vocal level of support for addressing the gas tax, provided that it improves and builds infrastructure," said Wilson.
Governor John Bel Edwards named the task force charged with coming up with recommendations on how to repair Louisiana's transportation problems. Wilson says there is a $13 billion dollar plus backlog in projects that need to be improved throughout the state, but that doesn't include new infrastructure.
"This administration is committed to not providing a band-aid approach," said Wilson. "But a real solution that legislators have to make a decision to support or not support transportation."
The task force's proposals are due by the first of the year, and a boost in the gas tax is expected to be one of the key suggestions.
Wilson says 19 states link their gas taxes to inflation and other things, and the response from the electorate is most often a positive one because people care about quality transportation. He says they welcome all ideas.
"But we are most interested in providing sustainable solutions that is a recurring revenue source that is meaningful, impactful and keeps up with the cost of construction and possibly inflation," Wilson said.
It's been almost 29 years since the state has adjusted the gas tax, and Wilson says it's lost almost 50% of its value.