Louisiana Struggling to Garner Federal Highway Money
Louisiana gets good news from the feds.....an additional 80-million in transportation dollars, but DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson tells KEEL News the days of the state getting extra cash from the federal highway program could dry up soon.
Wilson says state resources have become so tight, it will be difficult for Louisiana to put up the matching dollars
"Right now, I don't anticipate we're going to have the money to make our federal match, let alone match the additional dollars we are seeing."
Dr. Wilson says state lawmakers could have helped solve this problem by approving an increase in the gas tax last year, but that did not happen.
"The bill did not get out of the House of Representatives and as a result we're gonna continue to make magic where we can, but it's gonna be very difficult."
The 80-million dollars is in addition to the 700 to 800 million dollars Louisiana receives every year from the federal government. But Wilson says the state could start to see fewer federal transportation dollars, because Louisiana’s current state gasoline tax of 20-cents per gallon is not generating enough money….
"That 700 or 800 million dollars will suddenly shrink and that is a concern because we are using every dollar that we have right now and we're not keeping up."
Dr. Wilson told KEEL this could mean major new projects like the Jimmy Davis Bridge and the I-49 inner city connector could be delayed even farther out into the future.