Ascension Parish, La., officials are considering a 25-year, $135 million road improvement program to be funded in part with $80 million of bonds supported by a proposed 0.5% increase in the parish’s sales tax.

The parish is expected to ask the Louisiana State Bond Commission in August to approve a sales tax election in November. The tax would generate $8 million a year to support two $40 million bond issues. After paying debt service on the bonds, the parish would have $3 million a year to allocate to other projects.

The proposed sales tax would be levied only in rural areas. If approved by voters, the tax would go to 9% in unincorporated portions of the parish.

Collection would begin Jan. 1.

Ascension Parish also anticipates receiving an additional $56 million through a program by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to reduce the number of highway miles maintained by the state. The parish would take oversight of 100 miles of rural state roads under the program.

Ascension Parish is located along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Population in the parish rose 40% from 2000 to 2010.

The parish’s general obligation debt is rated AA-minus by Standard & Poor’s.

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