A vast majority of Louisiana residents say they support a 5 cent gas tax increase. The LSU Public Policy Research report shows 67 percent of Louisiana residents would support raising the gas tax by five cents to pay for road projects and infrastructure repairs.

Sean Gallup, Getty Images
Sean Gallup, Getty Images

Director of LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab, Dr. Mike Henderson, says it’s a bipartisan public sentiment that reflects the survey’s other revelation that infrastructure is a top two concern for voters.

We have a majority of Democrats and Republicans as well as Independents support at that level. Across all these different parties, we have support.

But the report showed that when they were told the gas tax is now at 38.5 cents, support dipped to just 61 percent.

While a five cent tax is widely popular, the poll showed a major drop in support for a potential 20 cent gas tax hike, down to 46 percent. Henderson says deriving the optimal level of gas tax as supported by the public may be difficult for lawmakers. So he expects lawmakers to try to pass an increased gas tax between a nickel and 20 cents.

Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter is proposing a gas tax that would raise the rate six cents in the first year, and rise to an 18 cent increase over ten years.

Previous gas tax proposals have fallen flat at the Capitol, and Henderson says while there may be substantial public support for the policy, don’t hold your breathe on it making it into law. He says lawmakers might take a different view of voting for a gas tax increase during an election year.

And Governor John Bel Edwards has said he doesn't support a gas tax increase this year and he's even threatened to veto it.

Louisiana has the 7th lowest gas tax in the nation. A five cent hike would push it to 32nd lowest, and a 20 cent hike would see the state nearly crack the top ten highest gas taxes.

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