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    The push to raise the state gas tax died because the Louisiana House has turned into a "toxic mix" that features a "total lack of leadership," a veteran lobbyist told allies in a memo.
    Wally Gobetz/Flickr

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    Despite charges that it will spawn politically driven road and bridge projects, the Louisiana House gave final approval to a bill aimed at improving voter confidence in transportation spending.
    Stuart Seeger/Flickr

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    The death of the push to raise Louisiana's gasoline tax not only ended the issue for 2017.
    Stuart Seeger/Flickr

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    Louisiana Seeks Infusion of Funds to Boost Infrastructure

    The failure of efforts to boost state aid for roads and bridges means key projects statewide will be slowed, Louisiana’s transportation chief said July 7.

    “My struggle is without funds we probably don’t need to be advancing all these projects to the next stage,” said Shawn Wilson, secretary for the state Department of Transportation and Development.

    Louisiana Seeks Infusion of Funds to Boost InfrastructureStuart Seeger/Flickr

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    Bridge in Louisiana

    The sponsor of a failed bill to raise Louisiana’s gas tax said July 31 the state should consider other options to improve roads and bridges, including the already-stressed general fund.

    Rep. Steve Carter, (R-Baton Rouge), said while the state faces a $1.2 billion “fiscal cliff” next year, that shortfall should be raised to $1.7 billion to address pressing transportation needs.

    Bridge in Louisianafaungg's photos/Flickr

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    Louisiana paddle boat bridge New Orleans

    Infrastructure on the nation’s inland waterways needs an investment boost. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates $4.9 billion is needed in the next 20 years to improve locks and dams across the country.

    Louisiana is struggling with the aging waterway infrastructure and often has a backlog of ships waiting in its harbors. “It could be two to four days waiting to lock through,” said Vic Landry, USACE operations project manager in Louisiana.

    Louisiana paddle boat bridge New OrleansWally Gobetz/Flickr

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    Louisiana regulators Sept. 20 allowed more companies to haul toxic waste in the state.

    But the Public Service Commission did not go as far as a newly passed state law demands, which will force the courts, ultimately, to decide how to handle hazardous leftovers from industry and the oilfield.

    Voting 4-0, the PSC updated trucking regulations that were first passed to counter the helter-skelter dumping of hazardous waste, which became a problem in the 1970s.

    TT File Photo

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    While Louisiana road and bridge needs poured in to a key legislative committee Oct. 12, prospects for any sweeping changes are bleak.

    Shawn Wilson, secretary for the state Department of Transportation and Development, told the House and Senate transportation committees that Louisiana has $691 million this year for transportation improvements and a $13.1 billion backlog.

    “We have a wheel barrel full of needs and a thimble-full of money,” Wilson said.

    grandriver/Getty Images

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    Louisiana officials agree that the state’s roads need fixing. Beyond that, though, they can’t seem to agree on what to do about it. But they did make some progress earlier this month toward a solution when the state’s voters approved a constitutional amendment to safeguard any money raised by new gas taxes.

    grandriver/Getty Images

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    The country’s regulatory agency for trucks and buses has a new deputy administrator in Cathy Gautreaux.

    This month, Gautreaux, formerly the executive director for the Louisiana Motor Transport Association with experience in national affairs through work with American Trucking Associations, took on the No. 2 spot at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.


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    Seven months after their push for a hike in the state gas tax died, road and bridge advocates are scrambling to see what, if any, other options are available for traffic relief.

    “It is a quality-of-life issue in Louisiana, especially in the capital region,” said House Transportation Committee Chairman Kenny Havard, (R-St. Francisville).

    “We don’t have a choice,” Havard said. “We have to fix it.”

    grandriver/Getty Images

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    Shreveport road map

    Louisiana officials recently celebrated the completion of a project linking two interstate highways in the northern part of the state.

    Gov. John Bel Edwards and Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn Wilson joined other state and local leaders at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 17 marking the opening of the Interstate 49 North interchange project in Shreveport.

    Shreveport road mapShutterstock

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    Sunshine Bridge repair

    Despite high-profile projects in Baton Rouge and elsewhere, Louisiana’s $14 billion backlog of road and bridge needs will rise next year because the state lacks the needed resources, state Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson said Nov. 15.

    “We don’t have the money to invest in building projects because we are spending all the money to preserve what we have,” Wilson said. “We aren’t investing in our future.”

    Wilson also said the Sunshine Bridge will reopen in January and possibly sooner.

    Sunshine Bridge repairThe Sunshine Bridge in Louisiana undergoes repair after a crane barge collided with it in October. The accident placed the bridge out of service. (Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development)

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