Loss of Federal Funding Could Halt NE Louisiana Road Projects

By David Cawton | dcawton@nbc10news.net

Published 07/02 2014 05:47PM

Updated 07/02 2014 08:25PM

MONROE - Underneath the I-20 Bridge in downtown Monroe crews are painting, pressure washing and replacing rusty metal.

The $31 million refurbishment is being funded with federal dollars.

Money the President says is drying up

"If this congress does not act by the end of the summer the highway trust fund will run out. There won't be any money there," Said President Obama on Tuesday at a press conference in Washington. At that press conference the President said, the Highway Trust Fund is expected to run out by the end of August if lawmakers doesn't act.

That would put a damper on projects in our area.

Funding for major road and infrastructure projects actually comes from a gas tax, about thirty-eight cents of every gallon.

"Twenty cents goes to us, and sixteen cents goes to the federal government," said Marshall Hill of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. He says the gas tax can’t fund everything.

"In the district that we're in which are the nine northeast parishes, we have about a billion dollars worth of needs that includes bridges and roads."

Any interruption in funding could result in projects being delayed if not scrapped.

Independent contractors who bid on larger projects would also be affected.

"If that work is not being done, then of course they're not getting paid and they will be the first ones to lay-off."

He's hopeful the lawmakers in Washington will not let politics get in the way of our nation's infrastructure.

"What we'll do is continue getting plans ready and get everything ready for bids so when the money comes back we'll be ready"

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