Today, Governor Bobby Jindal announced a $150 million investment to repair around 360 miles of rural roads across the state.
The investment is part of the Governor's initiative to bond out half of the State Highway Improvement Fund, which will generate $425 million over three years to repair approximately 1,100 miles of rural roads across Louisiana. In the first year, the $150 million will be used for nearly 80 projects.
Rep. Jim Fannin authored a bill in the 2012 legislative session to bond out the State Highway Improvement Fund. The State Highway Improvement Fund was created exclusively to fund state roads classified as Non-Federal Aid routes that are not eligible for federal funding. Non-Federal Aid routes are made up of mostly rural roads.
Unlike major roadways, Non-Federal Aid routes are not eligible for matching funds from the federal government, which means there is less money available to fund projects for rural roads throughout the state. The State Highway Improvement Fund receives dedicated funding from commercial vehicle registration and license fees. The legislation signed by the Governor will bond out half of the State Highway Improvement Fund, and the bonds will be structured so they do not last longer than the life of the roads being repaired.
Governor Jindal said, "Since taking office, we've made transportation investments a top priority because we know that quality roads lead to a stronger economy. These investments will upgrade roads that in some cases have not been repaired in 30 years to help make our state more attractive for new business investments, and most importantly, to make our roads safer for our families."
The projects for the first year of the program were selected through DOTD's priority program based on traffic volumes and roadway assessments.
"I'd like to thank Governor Jindal and the Legislature for their support in improving the rural roads in our state," said DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas. "This investment will help boost our economy by providing a more reliable, safer transportation system for the farming and natural resource industries using these roads each day."
Since taking office, Governor Jindal has invested more than $4.5 billion for transportation projects throughout Louisiana, which translates into more than 1,900 transportation system improvement projects, including roughly 4,600 miles of roadway and 446 bridges. Additionally, Louisiana's backlog of road and bridge projects has been reduced by nearly $2 billion.
DOTD plans to accept bids for the projects beginning in January 2013. To see a complete list of projects funded under the first year of the Quality Surface Program, visit http://www.dotd.la.gov/programs/qualitysurfaces/.