The Pelican Institute for Public Policy is calling for more efficient transportation spending, without raising taxes.
Currently, gas is taxed at 20 cents per gallon. Four cents goes to transportation infrastructure and the remaining 16 cents goes to the Department of Transportation and Development, of which only 1.56 cents goes to roads and bridges. While some leaders are pushing for an increase in the gas tax, Graves is advocating for gas tax reform, saying that reform can bring improvement to the roads without hiking taxes.
“Like many other critical problems we face, most of Louisiana can agree that our transportation system is in desperate need of reform,” Renee Amar, vice president of government affairs, told Louisiana Record. "Raising more taxes on hardworking Louisianans will not solve the problem."
Amar opposes raising taxes, believing that investigating the way funds are spent will do more for sustainable change.
“Instead, we should be looking at solutions to better spend the funds we have while modernizing our approach to Louisiana's roadways,” Amar said.
The DOTD gas tax brings in $551.4 million dollars a year, but only $54.3 million is going to the roads and bridges in the state. Meanwhile, 73.7 percent, or $406.1 million, is going to the DOTD’s operating budget.
Amar believes in bringing change to the system in order to benefit the state and its roads, not maintaining the status quo.
“Free-market solutions, such as adopting public-private partnerships, utilizing users-pay/users-benefit models like tolls and seeking out federal loans and bonds, will lead to better financing of roads while lessening the burden on Louisiana's working families,” Amar said.