State Infrastructure Given a D+ by Engineers
We all know that the I-10 bridge has been raked over the coals for the past few years and there is no shortage of opinion about that bridge, but apparently the other roads and bridges around the state are not that great either.
Earlier this week, the state got it's report card when the American Society of Civil Engineers released its 2017 Report Card for Louisiana Infrastructure, giving the state an overall grade of "D+."
According to DOTD Secretary Dr. Kam Movassaghi:
"Louisiana's infrastructure needs immediate attention. A grade of D+ means the system does not provide the intended service and is at risk of failure."
Now, the grade on the infrastructure is based on several criteria including aviation, the quality of drinking water and ports as well as roads and bridges. The report also suggests replacing the I-10 bridge with a new bridge that is 6 lanes wide. The report lists the project as a "Megaproject."
Whether or not that means that we might see something done about the controversial structure in the near future remains to be seen. As far as I'm concerned, it's just another report that says something needs to be done. The question on everyone's mind is, "When"?
Even being a "Megaproject" doesn't guarantee that anything is going to happen anytime soon. As usual, it all comes down to money. One proposal to help raise the money needed for all these projects is an increase in the "gas tax." How big an increase, you ask? Well according to DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson there is talk of raising the gas tax from 20 cents to 37 cents.
Even with that raise in the gas tax, Wilson says:
"I will tell you without the gas tax, I can't give you a date certain that that bridge would move. With the gas tax, should we be successful at getting 17 cents, we believe that all of the megaprojects will get started within the next 10-15 years."
10-15 years! At that rate, the state should save a lot of money when it comes to demolishing the old bridge. They can just kick it and it will fall over.