Baton Rouge, La. – Gov. Bobby Jindal signed House Bill 208 into law Wednesday afternoon in Baton Rouge, ensuring taxpayer dollars dedicated to the state’s transportation trust fund are utilized for highway maintenance and construction.
“We can’t grow our economy without a reliable transportation system. Rep. Landry’s bill will help us to address the state’s infrastructure needs by limiting the use of transportation dollars for other functions of government,” Stephen Waguespack, president of LABI, said.
House Bill 208 will gradually limit the amount of money that could be taken by the Transportation Trust Fund to be used for state police to $45 million in fiscal 2015-16; $20 million in 2016-17; and $10 million a year after that. Rep. Terry Landry, D-New Iberia, who served as Louisiana Superintendent of State Police during Gov. Foster’s administration, sponsored the bill.
“Although we still have a lot of work to do, I am proud of my colleagues in both Chambers for their support, and I am very pleased that the governor has signed House Bill 208. This bill is a step in the right direction to address our deplorable roads in Louisiana,” Rep. Landry said. “I also want to thank LABI for the support provided in this very critical piece of legislation. We all put Louisiana first.”
Since 2005, the state has allocated over $400 million from the transportation fund to “traffic control” by state police. While this is obviously a noble and necessary service, 71 percent of Louisiana voters approved a gas tax in 1989 for improving transportation infrastructure.
“I am grateful to Rep. Landry for his hard work on behalf of the residents of Louisiana. This is an important step toward increasing the annual funding of transportation-related construction across the state,” Terry Baugh, of D&J Construction in Monroe, said. “Public trust will be increased by knowing more of their Transportation Trust Fund proceeds will be spent on improving Louisiana’s highway system.”
It is estimated that an annual minimum of $70 million is necessary to meet the federal match requirements for a reliable transportation preservation program. This year, Louisiana dedicates approximately $26.7 million to match federal funds under a restructured preservation program focused mainly on interstate highways. House Bill 208 will help set the foundation for having that match requirement in place each and every year.
The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry is the largest and most effective business advocacy group in the state of Louisiana, representing more than 2,500 member businesses of every size in every sector and region.