AASHTO Journal, 03 July 2015
Gov. Bobby Jindal signed two bills in late June that would reportedly increase state funding for roads and bridges by about $100 million a year, starting at least a year from now.
Those measures, which work together, were sponsored by Sen. Robert Adley, chairman of the Transportation, Highways & Public Works Committee.
The Advocate newspaper reported Senate Bill 122 would change state budget practices to add the $100 million into the state’s general fund. SB 221 would shift that money to the Transportation Trust Fund, with the first $70 million for road and bridge maintenance.
The funds shift is linked to state financial conditions, The Advocate said, and would take effect no earlier than July 1, 2016.
SB 221 also does away with a provision, which the Legislature passed in 2008, that would allow up to $400 million a year to be transferred into the transportation fund once state revenues reach a certain level. Adley had earlier told lawmakers the revenue levels would not reach the target until 2020 or 2021, and that such major general fund transfers would face considerable opposition.
Those were among scores of bills that Jindal’s office on June 29 announced he had signed into law.
The report said those two Senate measures were among five bills, counting three from the House, “that would offer modest fixes to transportation problems amid Louisiana’s $12 billion backlog of road and bridge needs.”
Jindal had not yet acted on the three House measures. Two of them would provide for a constitutional amendment ballot vote to allow the state to make low-interest project loans through the Louisiana State Transportation Infrastructure Bank to parishes and municipalities.
The Advocate said the other House bill would curb annual transfers of money from the Transportation Trust Fund to state police. Currently, about $70 million is set to be transferred, the story said, but the bill would trim that to $45 million on July 1, $20 million next year and then $10 million a year afterward.