Prior to each annual legislative session, One Acadiana (1A), working through our policy committees, releases a set of legislative priorities regarding the issues that enhance our regional economic competitiveness. The six major issue areas for 1A’s 2017 Legislative Priorities are: 1) fiscal reform, 2) transportation infrastructure, 3) workforce development, 4) public education, 5) criminal justice reform, and 6) economic development.
As we enter the final month of the 2017 Regular Session, we want to recognize some of the initial outcomes and outlook on a few of these priorities.
Louisiana faces a $13 billion backlog of infrastructure needs on our existing transportation system and more than $10 billion in needs for new capacity, such as I-49 South.
1A supports efforts to increase transportation infrastructure investment, with I-49 South as a top priority. However, as a pre-requisite for a revenue increase, 1A is advocating for steps to improve public confidence in how existing resources are spent. To that end, 1A supports SB 57 (Cortez) and HB 598 (Abramson).
SB 57 (Cortez) is a Constitutional Amendment that would help restore trust in the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) by fully prohibiting diversions from the TTF to State Police for traffic control purposes, building on prior legislation by Rep. Terry Landry.
HB 598 (Abramson) would establish a multi-year timeline for projects included in DOTD’s Highway Priority Program (HPP), based on available and projected funding, and require progress reports detailing whether such projects are on time, ahead of schedule, or delayed.
Both bills would go a long way to increase DOTD’s transparency and accountability and are aligned with 1A’s transportation funding guiding principles. Additionally, 1A was involved in the drafting of HB 598.
Several weeks of hard work remain until the Legislature finalizes the 2017 Regular Session on June 8. We would like to thank all 24 legislators from 1A’s nine-parish region for their service and leadership on behalf of the businesses and families of Acadiana.