Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will ask the Legislature to authorize $325 million of bonds to resurface and maintain almost 1,000 miles of state rural roads not eligible for federal matching grants.

The 20-year revenue bonds would be supported by half the money in the State Highway Improvement Fund.

The fund receives $50 million to $60 million a year of state commercial-vehicle registration charges and driver license fees.

“The reality is that many of our rural roads have not received any significant repairs in over 30 years due to a lack of funding,” Jindal said Monday at a news conference. 

“That’s unacceptable and we have a solution to bring more dollars to these projects and make sure every part of our state has a solid infrastructure.”

Jindal said many of the roads are severely worn and unsafe.

“There’s a major need to repair roads in rural parishes,” Jindal said, adding that there would be upgrades in almost every parish.

The Department of Transportation and Development said the bonds probably would include two $100 million tranches and a final issue of $125 million.

Rep. Jim Fannin, D-Jonesboro, will introduce the enabling legislation when the Legislature convenes March 12. Fannin is chairman of the appropriations committee and a member of the State Bond Commission.

“For Louisiana to be successful, we have to provide our rural communities with quality roads,” Fannin said. “I’m proud to join the governor in this proposal.”

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