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7 months ago

OPEN ROAD Q3

problems involves taking

problems involves taking a good look at how Louisiana got in this position and how to prevent the same issues from reoccurring. “How do we catch up and how do we use data to help prioritize what goes first? Just like our business, you don’t have unlimited capital,” Yura said. Louisiana will have to look at some new and fresh approaches, focusing on data-driven solutions rather than politically oriented answers, to arrive at the appropriate funding mechanisms to address urgent needs in a reasonable amount of time, he said. Wyly Gilfoil, Executive Director for the Lake Providence Port Commission, said the time is right to boost funding. “Folks definitely see the need. The fortunate aspect is we have some low fuel prices right now,” Gilfoil said. Louisiana motorists are paying about 50 cents a gallon less this year than last for gasoline. Ronnie Harris, Executive Director of the Louisiana Municipal Association, said his goals on the task force include understanding the needs analysis for projects; hearing the perspectives of each member; and making sure his members’ needs aren’t forgotten. In the past, many parishes have had limited transportation funding for parish roads that lie outside incorporated areas, he said. The infrastructure needs where people are concentrated must also be represented. Jay Dardenne, Commissioner of the Division of Administration, said he has never seen people more aware of the challenges facing the state’s infrastructure. Louisiana’s budget problems generated a lot of “cocktail party chatter” this year, Dardenne said. People wanted to know why the Edwards administration wasn’t increasing the gasoline tax. The answer was that the state has to first stabilize its budget before tackling infrastructure, Dardenne said. The problem is that infrastructure funding discussions will take place at the same time as the heavy lifting on tax reform. A delicate balance will have to be struck to accommodate both those goals, he said. Still, Dardenne expects for the first time to see “a very serious” public discussion about public-private partnerships and toll roads as potential alternatives to raising the gasoline tax. The general awareness of how critical the needs are – the interstate in Baton Rouge, Interstate 49 South throughout Acadiana, and a new exit ramp for the airport in New Orleans, a potential economic “game changer” -- has also created a base of support for increased infrastructure funding. “I don’t know if I can say there’s broad support, but there’s more support than there ever has been,” Dardenne said. K 16 ❘ Open Road Q3 2016

Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. Secretary of the Department of Transportation, Co-Chair of the task force, Baton Rouge Robert Travis Scott President of Louisiana Public Affairs Research Council and Statewide Transportation Plan Committee Member, Baton Rouge Reldon Owens Board member of Blueprint Louisiana and Director of External Relations, Diamond B Construction Company, Alexandria Ken Naquin CEO of the Louisiana Association of General Contractors, Baton Rouge Ronnie Harris Executive Director of the Louisiana Municipal Association, Baton Rouge Roland Dartez Executive Director of the Police Jury Association, Baton Rouge Rep. Kenny Havard Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, Jackson Sen. Page Cortez Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, Lafayette Tom Yura Chairman of the Louisiana Chemical Association and Senior Vice President and General Manager BASF, Baton Rouge Greg Morrison Gov. John Bel Edwards Transportation Transition Committee Chair; Vice President, Quality Transport Inc., Bossier City Gen. John Basilica Former DOTD Undersecretary, 33-year veteran of the Louisiana National Guard, Baton Rouge Kim Robinson Secretary of the Department of Revenue, former partner in the Tax & Estates Practice Group at Jones Walker law firm, Baton Rouge Ann Trappey Chairman of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber board and President and CEO of Forte & Tablada, consulting engineers and land surveyors, Baton Rouge Jared Brossett New Orleans City Councilman Transportation & Airport Chair, New Orleans Wyly Gilfoil Executive Director, Lake Providence Port Commission, Lake Providence John Alario President of the Louisiana Senate, Westwego Jay Dardenne Commissioner of the Division of Administration, Baton Rouge Taylor Barras Speaker of the House of Representatives, New Iberia Open Road Q3 2016 ❘ 17

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