Louisiana’s roads and bridges are in deplorable condition. Nearly four years ago, the American Society of Civil Engineers released the 2012 Report Card for Louisiana’s Infrastructure indicating that the condition of our roads and bridges is dismal, receiving a grade of D and D+, respectively.
Over the last two decades, chronic underfunding of Louisiana’s infrastructure has led to an alarming rate of deterioration. Using a simple metaphor, we no longer are facing a leaking roof; we are facing a roof replacement. Our road and bridge network no longer provides the required basic services.
Most Louisiana citizens believe our infrastructure is the backbone of our economy, yet few believe it is meeting our needs.
Our capacity and maintenance needs have outgrown the state’s ability to maintain the system. The result is slower economic growth and fewer jobs. Louisiana voters have an opportunity to help in the Oct. 24 election. Amendments 1 and 2 will provide additional revenue for infrastructure projects without raising taxes:
Voting “yes” on Amendments 1 and 2 will increase much-needed investment into the state’s transportation network.
Voting “yes” on Amendment 1 will dedicate some existing excess mineral revenues to a fund that can be used only for transportation projects.
Voting “yes” on Amendment 2 will allow the state treasurer to invest existing state revenues in the Louisiana Infrastructure Bank, which will make affordable loans to local governments and ports for community transportation projects.
Voting “yes” on Amendments 1 and 2 will not raise taxes while putting us on a path to improving our transportation network. Most importantly, it will send a clear message to the incoming state leadership that Louisiana will not accept a D as its infrastructure grade.
Many states have successfully utilized infrastructure banks as a way to increase investment into projects and address the backlog of needs. Georgia started its infrastructure bank because it was facing challenges similar to ours. Since then, Georgia has leveraged more than $50 million to support $208 million in infrastructure investments that have increased mobility, enhanced communities and strengthened Georgia’s economy.
We all recognize that Louisiana roads and bridges need serious attention. Now, we have an opportunity to take action by voting “yes” on these amendments and taking charge of our dying infrastructure.
Christopher G. Humphreys
president, Louisiana Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers