State house moves to improve roads, bridges

By T. Scott Boatright

Maybe the beating Lincoln Parish resident’s cars take while driving area roads will soon lessen

That’s because the  Louisiana House of Representatives has voted to divert hundreds of millions of dollars in automobile taxes from the general fund to a fund dedicated to road and bridge construction.

House members also voted Monday to ask the southeast Louisiana parishes that benefit most directly from a billion-
dollar hurricane and flood protection system to help the state pay its share of the cost.

House Bill 511 by Rep. Jack McFarland, R-Jonesboro, calls for initially dedicating 10% of the proceeds from
state sales taxes on vehicles to the construction subfund of the Transportation Trust Fund then increasing
that proportion by 10% each year until all of the money is going to road and bridge construction.

McFarland, who considered proposing raising the state’s gas tax during the current session before deciding not
to, described his bill as another way to create a steady funding stream for transportation infrastructure.

The change would send about $736 million that otherwise would go to the state general fund to the dedicated
transportation fund over the first five years. While legislators wanted McFarland to assure them the bill
would not affect the Department of Transportation and Development’s operations, there was little discussion
about the decrease in revenue in the general fund.

Members advanced HB 511 to the state Senate with a 70-28 vote.

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