Baton Rouge motorists welcome plunging gas prices, but how long will it last? _lowres

Advocate staff file photo by BILL FEIG -- Costco members line up at the gas pumps as the attendant motions another car to space available in December 2014.

Officials of a group that plans to oppose any hike in the state's gasoline tax said they will release a video on Thursday that says no such increase is needed.

"Louisiana doesn't need higher gas taxes to fix our roads and bridges," the 60-second video says. "We simply need leaders who will spend our money wisely."

The message was prepared by the conservative-leaning Americans For Prosperity-Louisiana.

It was set to go out to social media, and by email to followers of the organization, at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

Leaders of the group said earlier this week they plan to be involved in any debate on the state gas tax, which is expected to be a key topic during the 2017 regular legislative session.

A task force named by Gov. John Bel Edwards said in December that the state needs to spend another $700 million per year to address road, bridge and other transportation needs.

State Rep. Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge, said Wednesday he and others are considering legislation that would increase the tax by up to 17 cents per gallon, which would raise more than $500 million annually.

Motorists pay 38.4 cents per gallon, including 20 cents in state taxes.

"For a family with two cars, that's hundreds of dollars every year," according to the video.

"That money is supposed to pay for transportation projects," it says. "Like roads and bridges."

"But politicians in Baton Rouge have gotten careless," the advertisement says. "Today, only 11 percent goes to transportation projects."

Shawn Wilson, secretary for the state Department of Transportation and Development, has said previously that the 11 percent accusation is baseless.

"In reality, 69.5 percent of the dollars that we get, state and federal, are spent on our infrastructure systems," Wilson said Thursday.

Backers of more spending for transportation have cited daily traffic problems in Baton Rouge and elsewhere.

The state has a $13 billion backlog of rank-and-file needs, including maintenance, and a $16 billion backlog of "mega" projects, including a new bridge across the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge.

The legislative session begins on April 10.

Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell.