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'Road Closed' and 'Bridge Closed' signs string across Congress Blvd warning motorists that construction continues on the bridge spanning Dawson Creek Thursday January 7, 2021, in Baton Rouge, La. Bridging the gap takes time.

Louisiana drivers don’t need outside experts to tell them that driving conditions are far from ideal. So they’re unlikely to be surprised that a new report documents just how far.

According to the Reason Foundation, the state ranks 49th for urban interstate conditions and 45th for the number of structurally deficient bridges. Previously released U.S. Department of Transportation data pegged 1,634 bridges and 3,411 miles of Louisiana roads as being in “poor” condition.

A lack of resources is the main culprit, the Reason Foundation said.

But things could soon be looking up. After resisting calls to raise gas taxes to pay for road improvements — our preferred solution but one that proved politically unpalatable — the Legislature this year voted to divert an annual $300 million from the state general fund to the cause. 

Melinda Deslatte: Louisiana works to take advantage of new infrastructure bill

Louisiana ranks almost last for highway and bridge conditions, national report shows

Then there’s the just-signed federal infrastructure bill that allots $110 billion nationally for roads and bridges, some existing and some additional spending, and specifies $40 billion in new money for bridges alone. The new state investment will help here because some projects require a local match.

Louisiana may not rise much in the national rankings because every state’s conditions will surely improve, but that’s really beside the point. The important comparison is what we’ll have then versus what we’ve got now.

For drivers who navigate our substandard roads each day, there’s no place to go but up.