Shawn Wilson, secretary for the state Department of Transportation and Development, was tossing out quips during his comments at the Louisiana Transportation Conference.

Wilson jokingly said the state has an unusual number of residents with answers to Louisiana’s transportation problems.

“We have 4.1 million engineers who travel the roads and know what is best for us,” he said.

Wilson also praised civil servants at DOTD and said their work often fails to get the appreciation it deserves, and offers no path to riches.

“God knows the government is not the place for finding that,” he said.

Wilson said some lawmakers who are on legislative committees attended a conference breakfast Monday and the talk is of finding dollars for roads, bridges and other forms of transportation.

“That is a huge, huge thing,” he said.

The state has a $12.7 billion backlog of road and bridge needs.

Wilson said he wants to spend time with DOTD road gangs to see their daily routines firsthand.

The conference attracted DOTD employees, consultants and vendors.

Former DOTD Secretary Sherri LeBas was in attendance.