Business News

1A weighs in on transportation funding

Ahead of Wednesday’s regional task force meeting in Lafayette, One Acadiana releases recommendations for a statewide transportation funding solution.

Ahead of Wednesday’s regional meeting of the Governor’s Task Force on Transportation Infrastructure Investment, One Acadiana released a set of high-level recommendations for a statewide transportation funding solution. The meeting, hosted by the Acadiana Planning Commission, One Acadiana and LEDA, is from 10 a.m. to noon at LITE, 537 Cajundome Blvd.

In a news release, 1A says its first two guiding principles (view them here) call for the state to maximize existing transportation funding levels and to find funding for transportation in other state budgetary categories.

The third principle calls for a substantial revenue increase under certain conditions.

The guiding principles were developed through multiple rounds of review by 1A’s Transportation Infrastructure Committee and Executive Committee and were adopted by the board of directors, according to the release.

One Acadiana has long emphasized that completing I-49 South, including the I-49 Lafayette Connector, should be the top priority of any infrastructure investment program.

Funding the $3 billion needed to complete I-49 South from Lafayette to New Orleans would likely require substantial new resources. Before raising new revenues, however, 1A’s principles stress that the state should maximize all existing funds. Edwards and the Legislature have already taken steps in this direction by ending the practice of diverting money from the Transportation Trust Fund to Louisiana State Police and by dedicating a greater percentage of capital outlay cash capacity to roads and bridges.

“It’s clear the Acadiana business community will support a transportation funding solution if it’s structured in the right way,” 1A President & CEO Jason El Koubi said in the organization’s news release.

The Governor’s Task Force co-chairs, Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn Wilson and Maj. Gen. John Basilica, will attend tomorrow’s meeting, along with other representatives of the 18-member panel. They will hear from Acadiana public officials, business leaders and other stakeholders about regional transportation needs and priorities.

Edwards appointed the task force in June to research, identify, and make specific actionable recommendations on reducing Louisiana’s $12.7 billion transportation backlog and funding the construction of new “megaprojects” in the Statewide Transportation Plan, such as the I-49 Lafayette Connector. The panel is due to submit its recommendations to the governor by Jan. 1.