Metrics - not politics - should dictate traffic infrastructure spending.
GONZALES — U.S. Congressman Garret Graves said Thursday a highway priority plan for the five-parish Baton Rouge area he is developing with local leaders would rely on “true metrics,” not politics, to build a consensus for the plan’s spending priorities.
He told an Ascension Chamber of Commerce luncheon audience in Gonzales that with Baton Rouge-area traffic ranked worst in the nation and with years of insufficient road funding, now is the time for the capital city get its fair share in state road dollars.
Graves called on the state Legislature to rededicate the 4 cents that Baton Rouge-area drivers now pay in state gasoline taxes to the Transportation Infrastructure Model for Economic Development program toward his plan.
“I don’t think we should keep spending good money after bad just because someone cut a political deal that we should fund those projects,” Graves said.
Graves pointed out that TIMED contains no projects for the Baton Rouge area even though Baton Rouge drivers have fulfilled their commitment to the program.
He opposes coming plans to extend the tax another 35 years to cover long-term debts for projects that took longer and were more expensive than envisioned.
“I got to tell you something. We’ve been very generous to those people around the state of Louisiana whose projects we have been paying for that (we) haven’t benefited from. We have been very generous for 25 to 30 years by paying that extra 4 cents per gallon for their projects,” said Graves, who represents Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District.
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