A bid by Republican leaders in the state Legislature to boost spending on roads and bridges by $300 million a year is becoming law after the governor, who had previously expressed concerns about the spending, signed it into law. 

Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the measure ahead of what could be a historic session by the Legislature to try to override his vetoes of other controversial bills, especially a proposal to bar transgender athletes from competing in girls' and women's sports. 

The override session, if it happens, would be the first of its kind.

The roads bill could have been the target of another override attempt if Edwards had opted to scuttle it.

Speaker Pro Tem Tanner Magee, sponsor of the instrument, said Edwards was boxed in on the measure, which is likely the only House bill that would prompt an override attempt. The transgender bill and another to allow permitless carry of guns are Senate bills. Magee noted some Democrats who represent areas west of Baton Rouge might have been compelled to override his veto of the roads bill given its implications on a new Mississippi River bridge.

If lawmakers do agree to a veto session, they will return to Baton Rouge July 20 for up to five days, with Republicans eyeing an override of the transgender bill, which has stirred up a passionate debate.

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"I think it’s kind of obvious where the game is gonna be," Magee said. "Some of these rural Democrats whose districts overwhelmingly support these bills, will they stick with the governor?”

State Sen. Rick Ward, R-Port Allen, and others have said for weeks that they added provisions to the roads and bridges bill to prevent any future budget messes.

Under the measure, the transfer of sales tax revenue to the state's key transportation fund would be limited to $150 million per year in case of a dire financial outlook.

The bill also says a maximum of $150 million of the transfer per year could be tied up in bonds and other borrowing costs, another step aimed at heading off future state budget problems.

Email Will Sentell at wsentell@theadvocate.com.