Louisiana’s electric vehicle transition will drain $500 million in road funding over the next decade
Louisiana’s transition to a growing fleet of electric vehicles will result in a $563 million reduction in state gasoline tax revenue over the next decade, leaving a growing gap in the state’s ability to meet its infrastructure needs, concluded a legislative auditor’s report this week.
Legislative Auditor Michael Waguespack’s report said the combination of more electric vehicles, hybrids and more fuel-efficient gasoline vehicles along with a state gasoline tax that hasn’t increased in three decades means “the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) is not enough to meet Louisiana’s $14.87 billion infrastructure needs.”
That means Louisiana’s backlog of crumbling roads and bridges will continue to grow past $15 billion unless the state finds a way to increase revenue.
Baton Rouge Republican Rep. Barbara Frieberg’s new law assessing the state’s first tax on electric and hybrid vehicles starting in 2023 will help narrow the gap, but the auditor says Louisiana will still miss 322 $.9 million from these vehicles and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks. the next decade.
Frieberg’s Bill 1031 (Law 578) will charge an annual fee of $110 for electric vehicle owners and $60 for hybrid owners.
The average gasoline engine driver in Louisiana pays $148 a year in gasoline taxes, though this varies by make, model, and number of miles driven.
Owners of electric and hybrid vehicles will pay the new fees through the Louisiana income tax form, with the state relying on voluntary compliance.
“These road user fees for electric and hybrid vehicles are very important first steps, but they will not generate enough revenue to offset what we are losing in declining gas tax revenue,” said Frieberg in an interview with USA Today Network. “I think this is the most important bill I’ve introduced this year. It’s about paying their fair share for the use of our roads and bridges.”
“Road user fees for electric vehicles are a first step in the right direction to address a clearly outdated funding concept,” Louisiana Secretary of Transportation Shawn Wilson said.
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Louisiana’s infrastructure building fund will also get a $300 million annual boost from a 2021 law by Republican Houma. and cannot be used for operating costs.
“I consider it a huge win,” Wilson said. “This will go a long way in funding projects.”
Louisiana’s 20-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax, which is the eighth lowest in the nation, has not been raised since 1990, and at least a dozen attempts to raise the tax or peg it to l inflation since 2021 have gained no traction in the legislature.
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Louisiana earned a D+ rating in the American Society of Civil Engineers’ latest infrastructure report card in 2017. Twenty-eight Louisiana bridges have already been closed this year.
This week’s audit leaves little hope for Louisiana to raise its rating in the engineers’ next report due out next year.
“The auditor’s report validates and acknowledges what we have said that (the gap) will continue to grow until we find new ways to fund our roads and bridges,” Wilson said.
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Louisiana Network. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1