Senate panel gives green light to transportation finance bill

BATON ROUGE — A bill designed to raise funds that would be used for forgotten road projects in the state cleared the Senate Finance Committee here Monday and moves to the full Senate.

Senate Bill 555 by Sen. Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte and committee chairman, creates the Louisiana Economic Financing Corp. Its purpose would be to finance, purchase, own and manage the state’s allocation for Deepwater Horizon economic damage revenues.

Those revenues are BP oil spill money. The total BP settlement was $6.8 billion to Louisiana over 18 years. Natural resources damages total $5 billion to be used for coastal restoration, clean water, $787 million, and state economic damage claims, $1 billion.

The state is receiving $800 million in $53.3 million annual payments for 15 years. The state used an upfront payment of $200 million to help balance the budget in 2016.

The LaFleur measure is expected to produce about $600 million that could be bonded out and used for those forgotten road projects. The annual bond payments would come from the $53.3 million annual state economic damages payments. 

The bonds are called GARVEE bonds (Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle) bonds. States use them under the guidelines of the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995. The goal of the program is to speed up transportation projects.

The corporation created by the legislation would consist of the governor, the state treasurer, the attorney general, the president of the Senate, and speaker of the House of Representatives, or their designees, and seven members appointed by the governor with one member appointed from each of the seven congressional districts. 

An amendment to LaFleur’s measure would appropriate $100 million for a TIMED project approved in 1988. It involves improvements to Louisiana Highway 3241 from Interstate 12 to Bush (Bogalusa).

Another $1 million would be used to finance a program that would keep a full-time student in high school in the foster care program until he or she reaches age 21 or completes high school.

SportsPlus

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Don’t expect new candidates

life

SW La. nightlife calendar: There’s always something to do

life

USAF Band of the West making Lake Charles stop

high-school Sports

Upgrades planned for Jerry Simmons football stadium in Jennings

Crime

Lafayette teen charged in Ernest Street fatal shooting

Crime

6/28: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

Longhorns make quite a statement to the SEC

Local News

Bicyclist fatally struck after allegedly running stop sign

Local News

PHOTO GALLERY: Stitch Guillory sworn in as sheriff

Local News

Sheriff Guillory: ‘I am living MLK’s dream’

Local News

Supreme Court allows cities to enforce bans on homeless people sleeping outside

Local News

Work begins on new artificial reef off Cameron coast to provide habitat

Local News

Trump, Biden square off for the first time in the 2024 election season

Business

One step closer for Calcasieu Pass LNG project

Local News

Landry uses line-item veto against local organization

life

Lance Burton & Friends: Get ready for a magical experience

Crime

6/27: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

Zydeco in the Lake set to make a splash on Saturday

Local News

Supreme Court allows emergency abortions in Idaho for now in a limited ruling

Crime

Court orders guilty verdict in overdose case reversed

life

One in a melon: Beauregard Watermelon Festival lines up three days of family fun

Local News

UPDATE: Four of five candidates for superintendent already work for CPSB

Local News

Calcasieu Parish’s Galan touts progress with drainage projects

Crime

Inmate inadvertently released from custody back in handcuffs