From The Publisher: August 2015
08/07/2015 08:00AM ● Published by Aimee Cormier
We Need A Different Kind of TLC
By Art Suberbielle
This piece isn’t about tender loving care. It’s about the deplorable condition of Louisiana’s roads and bridges. For a state that’s trying to attract new industry, this is one of the basic needs that must be addressed – sooner rather than later. And it happens to be a significant quality of life concern for the residents.
Many of us have vacationed this summer in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi or Texas. You become instantly aware when you cross the state line into Louisiana because the roads are not as smooth and well maintained as in the adjacent states. And when Louisiana does work on the roads, it seems to take forever to complete the task. We need to hold our political leaders more accountable for this sorry state of affairs.
We need a strong dose of TLC – taxes or tolls, leadership and courage. It is long past time that we recognize that to properly repair our roads and bridges and build new ones, we have to generate the money from new taxes or tolls. There’s no other way around it. The federal government is not going to pick up the entire tab. You and I have to pay our share. This plan will require strong leadership to become law. To begin, we need our new governor and the legislature to put aside partisan politics and develop a comprehensive plan with a price tag. Once that’s done, then these leaders need to sell the idea to their constituents. That takes courage. No one, including myself, wants to pay any more taxes (or tolls). However, presented with a worthy cause, reasonable folks will do the right thing.
Just in case you are not convinced that new taxes or tolls are not the answer, consider this. Louisiana has a backlog of $12 billion in road and bridge repairs as of today. And it grows daily. Just look around as you drive locally. Potholes abound. Roadways are crumbling. Some bridges are completely closed because they are unsafe for vehicular travel.
Where will we get the money to do all this work? Taxes and tolls. But we need competent leadership with the courage to step forward and do the right thing. We can help the process by choosing candidates carefully in the upcoming election.