New funding option could be the answer to fix Shreveport's streets

Published: Oct. 27, 2015 at 2:46 AM CDT
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This pot hole at the corner of Fern Avenue and Sandefur Drive reportedly blew out a few tires...
This pot hole at the corner of Fern Avenue and Sandefur Drive reportedly blew out a few tires Monday evening.

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Voters approved of a constitutional amendment that would allow for the creation of a funding option to fix city and parish roads.

Louisiana voters passed a constitutional amendment #2 Saturday, also known as Act No. 471. It changes the constitution to allow the investment of public funds in a state infrastructure bank to be used for transportation projects.

The hope for the option is to create a more affordable financing option for local governments, using state money. The creation of the infrastructure bank happened during the 2015 legislative session.

"The constitutional amendment does nothing more than allow the treasure to invest some of our dollars in the form of loans to local government, if it is a better deal for the state, and if the Department of Transportation and Development agrees with the project, and the project relieves some of the pressure on state highways," said District 36 Senator Robert Adley made several changes to the bill.

"The state does not have the money to maintain their own roads, the bill as it was originally presented would allow the local government to borrow money to build roads anywhere and everywhere," Adley said. "Because the state doesn't really have that money, if we were going to do that, I wanted to make sure you could only do that provided that it would eliminate some of the problems and the pressure on a state highway."

Many Shreveport residents say road improvements are needed. Highland resident Luke Lee says its not hard to describe how he feels the roads in Shreveport are.

"Mediocre at best,"said Lee.

In fact, just minutes before he spoke with KSLA News 12, he says his wife just popped her tire after hitting a pothole in the Broadmoor neighborhood at the corner of Fern Avenue and Sandefur Drive.

"They are not the most passable roads in the area, especially for a residential area that sees so much traffic," said Lee.

Broadmoor home owner's association president Rob Broussard hopes the streets of Broadmoor will qualify for the more affordable financing option. After all, three of the area's boundaries are state roads: King's Highway, East King's Highway and East 70th Street.

"Broadmoor neighborhood is the heart of the city and our roads are some of the worst in the city," he said pointing to a part of the road that is cracking and even sinking in.

Broussard hopes this new financing option could be the answer to their road issues.

"I sure hope our political leaders look at this as an opportunity to do something for the tax payers in our area," he said.

A small board would be responsible for which projects get money are loaned money. The bank is in the Department of Treasury and overseen by a small board including: The secretary of DOTD, state treasurer, chairman of the senate committee on transportation and a few members appointed by state boards like the Louisiana bankers association, State Board of Certified Public Accountants, among others.

Eventually, according to the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana operating expenses are expected to total up to $400,000 a year just to run it.

Before the transportation fund can even be effective, the state would need to put $100 million into the bank.

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