As Louisiana looks hopefully toward an industrial boom, with several major oil- and gas-related facilities planned or in progress along the coast, officials are concerned about the increased strain on the state’s infrastructure.
According to Cole Avery for the Times-Picayune, state leaders and industry insiders pushing for investments in infrastructure should be made a priority.
The CEO of Louisiana Associated General Contractors, president of the Louisiana Chemical Association, and president of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry all expressed similar concerns. Despite many appealing factors for developing in the state, such as low natural gas prices and easy access to the Gulf of Mexico, investors have expressed anxiety about the existing infrastructure’s capacity.
The state’s Transportation Funding Task Force currently has a minimal $600 million to put to use, but the list of backlogged projects add up to $12 billion in needed funds. According to the Department of Transportation and Development, $6.4 billion has already been poured into projects throughout Louisiana.
Current funding for such projects is drawn from a gas tax, but 20 percent of that revenue is allowed to go to other recipients beyond infrastructure projects, such as the Louisiana State Police, who receive $60 million for highway safety.
While most officials agree that infrastructure must be a priority in order to prepare for an onslaught of added industry in the state, the primary issue is finding a source of funding for the buildup of projects.