Perret to task force: Be realistic with transportation solutions
The leader of Louisiana's top transportation advocacy group told a state task force studying how to finance improvements it must learn from the past and give the public a realistic picture of the cost and scope of any projects it proposes.
"Make sure that program and project cost estimates are realistic," said Kenneth Perret, president of the Louisiana Good Roads and Transportation Association. Perret made his remarks recently at the last meeting of Gov. John Bel Edwards' Task Force on Transportation Infrastructure Investment, which was held in Baton Rouge and hosted by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and the Capital Region Planning Commission.
Perret said the last time the gas tax was raised to finance transportation projects was more than 25 years ago, when voters approved a 4-cent-a-gallon increase to pay for a specific list of projects across the state. The program, known as TIMED, wound up costing about four times the original estimates because of poor estimating and rising construction costs.
Perret also urged task force members to be realistic about the scope of projects and to "provide alternatives based on various funding scenarios." The task force also should reward local governments that put up local funds to help with major project funding. Perret also urged the task force to include the state's newly created Infrastructure Bank in any finance plans.
The task force is co-chaired by DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson and Maj. Gen. John Basilica, vice president and Gulf Coast district leader for HNTB Corporation. Basilica also is the Good Roads representative on the task force, which is charged with giving the governor a recommendation on transportation funding options for legislative action by January 1, 2017. For more information, visit the Task Force web page.
Regional task force meetings also were held in New Orleans, Shreveport, Lake Charles, Houma, Lafayette, Monroe and Alexandria.
About Good Roads...
The Louisiana Good Roads and Transportation Association is a non-profit organization of more than 500 people and companies throughout Louisiana. Good Roads is dedicated to promoting the planning, design, construction and maintenance of a sufficiently financed transportation system that will provide safe and convenient travel for Louisiana citizens and economic opportunities for Louisiana businesses.