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Louisiana's proposed I-10 bridge tolls cause concern among truckers

A new $2.1 billion I-10 bridge project in Louisiana, backed by a public-private partnership between the state's DOTD and Calcasieu Bridge Partners, has sparked controversy due to the proposed tolls for truckers.

What's happening: The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) confirmed the deal which will lead to the construction of an improved I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge, aiming to address the aging infrastructure and to boost regional economic growth.

The tolls: To help fund the bridge, truckers are expected to bear a significant portion of the cost with tolls set at $8.25 for those with a toll tag and $12.35 for those without.

  • Passenger vehicles, in contrast, would pay as little as 25 cents.
  • Profits from the tolling system are planned to support additional regional infrastructure projects.

Trucker concerns: The Louisiana Motor Transport Association has voiced their dissent, pointing out the financial strain on trucking companies, with annual costs potentially reaching millions for medium-sized carriers. They warn it may set a troubling national precedent.

  • LMTA emphasizes that this would be the only toll on the entire stretch of the I-10 across seven states.

About the bridge: The impending bridge will offer full shoulders, more lanes, and better lighting in comparison to the existing structure from the 1950s, which lacks modern travel standards.

Toll specifics: Rates are based on 2023 figures and will be adjusted according to the Consumer Price Index over time, but tolling won't commence until the new bridge opens.

Projected timeline: Construction may start in 2024, with an estimated completion time of seven years.

The implementation of the toll system is framed as a necessity to finance the bridge and improve infrastructure, echoing Governor Jeff Landry's commitment to elevate the state's transportation network.

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