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.

Local News

Below-freezing temperatures expected throughout weekend

Local News

Learn to Drive the Bus class scheduled for next week

Local News

Jeff Davis school campuses closed Friday

Local News

Tire fire at shuttered facility leads to prison evacuation

Local News

Redistricting plan would cost Jeff Davis minority district

Local News

Fiery crash leaves two dead in Sulphur

Local News

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

Local News

Tanika Randle: Bringing technology to life for her students

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Expect dissension at session

Business

Port of LC director to House subcommittee: More disaster relief needed

life

Dougherty Davis celebrating her 100th birthday today

Local News

Area braces for blast of cold

Local News

Hotel rooms available during course of freezing temperatures

Crime

Vernon high-speed pursuit ends in airborne crash

Business

New businesses coming to Westlake in 2022

Business News

Names in the News: People shaping the future of Lake Area business

Business News

George Swift column: Takeaway from Chamber banquet is that area in good hands

Business News

Lake Charles chosen once again to host World LNG & Gas summit

Local News

Redistricting main topic at annual Legislative Breakfast

Business News

Local group brings 150 gallons of gumbo to tornado-hit area of Ky.

Local News

Cold front expected tonight

Local News

Doctor: COVID not letting up anytime soon

Crime

15-year-old charged with making threat against Sulphur High

Local News

Severe storms headed to area Wednesday night