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.

life

A grave task: Helping hands clean up, beautify historic Bilbo Cemetery

life

VIDEO: Volunteer work day to beautify Bilbo Cemetery

Crime

8/13: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

life

Lake Charles’ Got Talent: Today’s event pairs local celebrities with Barbe Bluebelles

Local News

Tropical cyclone development remains low across western Gulf

Local News

Portion of La. in Lake Arthur renamed in honor of Fox

Local News

La. abortion ban holds in court once again

Crime

UPDATE: Husband, wife both charged with molestation, cruelty

life

Classes back in session: Lake Charles Charter begins 12th year

Crime

UPDATE: Reward offered in Oakdale homicide

life

Gerald Sims: A neighborly neighbor that others can count on

Crime

One arrested, one sought in molestation case

Local News

Two Police Jury buildings closed due to water main break

Local News

La. continues to average 1,500-3,000 COVID cases daily

Crime

Nephew arrested after fight with uncle

Local News

Drink and Draw: CYPHACON social event allows ‘like-minded geeks’ to gather, have fun

Local News

Fort Polk name change could cost $1.4M

Local News

Kathleen Mayo: She’s had passion for teaching since age 9

Local News

Seersucker and a Solitaire: Lively fundraiser to benefit St. Nicholas Center for Children

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column: Focus on children, families

life

Attention to detail, respect for ingredients come naturally to Calla chef

Local News

CPSB cybersecurity breach investigation handed over to DA

Crime

Cpt. Darbonne mentors young students against violence, bullying

life

McNeese’s Victory Day celebrates kids with special needs