Louisiana Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson has toured the state to get feedback on ways to fund much needed road and bridge improvements. Wilson says he is finding support for bumping up the gasoline tax as a way to bring in dollars to address our growing infrastructure needs.

Wilson says most residents realize we do need to find more funding to begin to tackle the problems.

Governor John Bel Edwards appointed a task force charged with coming up with recommendations on how to repair Louisiana’s transportation problems. Wilson says there is a $13 billion dollar plus backlog in projects that need to be improved throughout the state, but that doesn’t include any new construction like a new Jimmie Davis Bridge in South Bossier.

Wilson says:

this administration is committed to not providing a band aid approach but providing a real solution and legislators will have to make a decision to support or not support transportation.

The task force’s proposals are due by the first of the year, and a boost in the gas tax is expected to be one of the key suggestions. Wilson says 19 states link their gas taxes to inflation and other things, and the response from the electorate is most often a positive one because people care about quality transportation. He says they welcome all ideas.

But we are most interested in providing a sustainable solution that is a recurring revenue source that is meaningful, impactful and keeps up with the cost of construction and possibly inflation.

It’s been almost 29 years since the state has adjusted the gas tax, and Wilson says it’s lost almost 50% of its value.

Which states have the highest taxes on gas? The Tax Foundation keeps track of the numbers.

Pennsylvania has the highest rate of 51.60 cents per gallon  and is followed closely by New York, Hawaii, and California.

And the lowest rates?

Alaska residents pay 12.25 a gallon while New Jersey drivers pay 14.50 with South Carolina at 16.75.

Louisiana residents pay 20.01 cents per gallon to the state.

These rates do not include the additional 18.40 cent federal excise tax.