The Louisiana Good Roads and Transportation Association has called for an increase in the state tax on gasoline to fund the construction of more roads.

Ken Perret, president of the highway advocacy group, said the current 20-cent-per-gallon tax that funds transportation projects is not adequate to meet state needs. Inflation has eroded much of its purchasing power since Louisiana’s last gas tax hike in 1989, he said, and modern vehicles burn less gas.

“The gasoline tax has less than half the buying power it had back in the 1980s,” Perret said. “You can’t build and maintain a 21st-century infrastructure on a 1989 budget.”

Four cents of the tax that supports transportation projects is allocated to debt service on bonds issued for a statewide road plan approved by voters in 1989. Revenue from the other 16 cents goes into the Transportation Trust Fund, which finances road construction and maintenance efforts the state highway system.

Perret said a recent study by determined that Louisiana has the worst roads in the United States, based on the percentage of roads in poor condition, number of deficient bridges, the highway fatality rate, and traffic congestion.

“A poor transportation system discourages economic development, it makes our highways more dangerous, and it costs drivers money on extra vehicle repairs and time lost in congestion,” Perret said.

He did not specify how much of an increase the group would support, though he said each extra penny would generate $28 million a year.

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