Audit Finds Louisiana’s Gas Tax Isn’t Enough for DOTD Needs
A Louisiana Legislative audit has determined that taxes put in place on fuel sales in the state are not enough to provide DOTD with the funding it needs to maintain and improve the state's roadways, bridges, and other transportation needs.
You're probably wondering, just how much fuel tax money is earmarked for DOTD and their projects. That figure is currently .20 cents for every gallon of fuel sold in the state. While that might seem like a lot of money, according to the auditor it isn't enough and here is the reason.
That tax of .20 cents per gallon for roads, bridges and other transportation needs was implemented thirty-two years ago. And no, legislators did not take into account a word we've all been dealing with here lately, inflation.
Just to give you an idea of how much money that "isn't" according to an online inflation calculator, $20 in 1990 is the equivalent of $45.34 in 2022 money. In case you're wondering here's how much taxes are placed on fuel sold in other states.
To break it down apples to apples that .20 cents in 1990 is the equivalent of .45 cents in 2022 coins. This might explain why so many roads, bridges, highways, and other transportation infrastructure is less than good across the state.
To make up for the "poor fiscal planning" the state legislators have opted to adjust sales tax rates on new vehicles sold in the state. Beginning next year 60% of the sales tax on new vehicles sold in Louisiana will be earmarked for transportation up to $300 million per year.
That sounds like a lot of money but when you consider the state has a $15 billion dollar backlog of projects in the works or planning stages you can see Louisiana is more than a day late and several billion dollars short.
DOTD officials have lobbied state legislators to increase the fuel taxes across Louisiana but those efforts have failed. And don't expect the subject to come up anytime soon since we are in an election cycle.
State legislators did approve an annual fee for drivers who choose a hybrid or electric vehicles but that revenue stream is a drop in the bucket compared to the money generated by fuel sales.
Meanwhile, the question remains, are you willing to pay more in fuel taxes if it means the roads are better and the bridges are safe? Or, are you content to pay more for car repairs caused by bad roads and the potential loss of life caused by unsafe bridges?
Maybe we should invest in walking shoes. That would save the roads and solve the obesity problem, right?
LOOK: See how much gasoline cost the year you started driving