It’s your tax dollars and your roads. The Joint Budget Committee approved some of the first stimulus package money today, but there’s a catch. Legislators set the wheels into motion for $192 million in road projects all from federal stimulus dollars, but some experts say that’s not nearly enough.
Orange cones and construction workers—if you’ve traveled Louisiana highways, you probably seen plenty of them. But drivers we spoke with agree, there’s still plenty more to be done. Renisha Black says, “We have a lot of new businesses coming up and we have to make sure we accommodate them.” Joe Danos agrees, “As a citizen, yeah, the roads need to be worked on.”
The legislature approved the first of the stimulus funds. In the next round of stimulus funds, more than $100 million, some of that money could be used to widen parts of Interstate 10. Representative Bodi White, Jr. of District 64 says, “There’s a lot of questions on which ones are going to go now, which ones are coming up in the next year or two.”
But despite any money, some experts say it won’t begin to solve Louisiana’s traffic woes. Jim Brandt of PAR says, “We have huge needs in Louisiana when it comes to highways and bridges and the revenue streams we have available will simply not be sufficient to meet those needs.” Right now, the state has a $14 billion backlog, a number that could just keep growing. “Unless we address that problem, it’s going to cost us more in human lives and riding and driving on bad roads.”
Right now, our state is so far behind in funding, we could actually lose $100 million in grants because we can’t come up with the funds to get the projects off the ground.