Infrastructure and traffic issues in Baton Rouge, Louisiana | My Paper Hub
The transportation infrastructure and
The transportation infrastructure and
traffic congestion in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is a real challenge to not just
the leadership but also the general public that uses the roads on a daily
basis. The roads are in a deplorable state, the bridges structurally deficient
and obsolete and the resulting congestion eats up the productivity of the
general population. The rate of fatalities on the roads is also a real menace
for the town and the state in general (Louisiana Smart Growth Summit, 2016).
The fatality rates are in fact above the average of the general national
average of road fatalities in the United States. Experts on infrastructure also
cite the fact that the cost of infrastructure is very high, but the cost of
having the poor infrastructure in the region and the area, in general, are far
more than the cost that they would incur in solving the menace. It is this that
has led to many politicians and other economic experts appealing to the state
governance and also the federal government to intervene and bring a solution to
the problems facing Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Steinberg,
et. al., 2011). The majority of these stakeholders are fast to decide
that it is time that taxation on the people is increased to cover the expenses
of maintaining and also upgrading the infrastructure in Baton Rouge (Louisiana
Smart Growth Summit, 2016). However, this will have a direct impact on the cost
of living and also of transportation in the area leading to further suffering
of the people in the hands of the governments that failed to maintain and also
upgrade the infrastructure before it got to the deplorable state it is in.
Therefore, the federal and state governments should not increase taxation on
the citizens on oil and infrastructural use in an effort to raise funds for repair
maintenance and upgrade of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
It is counterproductive to try solving
the transportation issues faced by the people of Louisiana through increasing
taxation. It is because, an increase in taxation for fuels and also on transportation
will have direct effects on the cost of transportation, the cost of production
of goods and services and also ultimately affect the cost and quality of life
among the citizens (Louisiana Smart Growth Summit, 2016).
Increasing taxation on fuel and other
areas may be a double cost for the general populace. It is because, the people
of Baton Rouge, Louisiana are already paying huge costs for having to use the
deplorable infrastructure. A report by CRISIS (2016) indicates that as they use
the roads they are consistently paying a substantial high cost for the
additional repairs that come with the beat up roads, higher auto insurance and
also incur economic losses resulting from inconveniences that result from the
poor infrastructure. Driving on the roads in the area cost the motorists an
extra 1.2 billion dollars annually in vehicle repairs and operating costs are
408 dollars for every motorist. Moreover, the annual insurance costs in
Louisiana are the highest in the country at 1,277 dollars against the lowest in
the country which is Lola at 630 dollars (CRISIS 2016). Therefore, it is not
sustainable to increase taxation on oil and infrastructural use since it will
lead to an increase in the problems facing the common taxpayers. Raising the
taxation would further strain the common citizens which would go against the
purpose of governance which is to improve the lives of the people and not
causing further hurt and strain.
The taxation on the public may not be
sufficient and is also unfair to the general populace that has already paid the
taxes for the last 30 years without witnessing any marginal changes in the
infrastructure (CRISIS 2016). The current problems that the people of Baton
Rouge are facing are not as a result of an overnight issue but are a direct
result of over 30 years of inattention to the infrastructure. The last major
transportation development program in the area was the Transportation
Infrastructure Model for Economic Development (TIMED) that was initiated by
Governor Roemer as a 15-year initiative. It is this program that was major in
an infrastructural development project in the recent history of Baton Rouge and
Louisiana as a state despite the fact that there has been continued taxation on
the public over the decades (Issue Brief, 2007).
It is also clear that the issue that is
facing Louisiana at the moment is so significant and capital intensive that
reliance on revenues raised from taxation may take other several years to be
enough to address the issue (OECD, 2007). The needs have grown drastically and
continue to grow at a sporadic rate. Louisiana needs a major development plan
and initiative that is bound to cost billions of dollars. It is imperative that
the federal government also plays a role in addressing the transportation
issues in the State since the local governance has no capacity to adequately
address the infrastructural needs of Baton Rouge and Louisiana in general
(Issue Brief, 2007).
The problems facing Baton Rouge majorly
stem from two major shortcomings, and that is the structural and financial
matters and hence has nothing to do with taxation on the citizens. The
structural issues that they face are majorly concerned with the state of
governance and management of the systems. It is how the things are done and the
level of efficiency and effectiveness of such systems (Issue Brief, 2007). The
financial issues that they face deal with the available resources, their
adequacy, distribution and utilization and sustainability of the economic
models at the state and local levels. Therefore, the general public has little
role to play in solving the issues that face the state of infrastructure in the
region, but it all boils down to the state and federal governments to find
solutions that are both lasting and sustainable.
A cost-benefit analysis from CRISIS
recommends that the infrastructural issues in Baton Rouge require the
implementation of multiple strategic major projects. They suggest that the
highest benefit would directly result from boosting of the highway that covers
Mississippi River through the building of a new bridge that would cost up to
1.6 billion dollars (CRISIS 2016). They also recommended the increase of using
the U.S. 190 Bridge. It is, therefore, imperative that the administration of
Baton Rouge take up strategic and also efficient strategies to address the
infrastructural issue that they face in the region. Such revenues with a good
strategic framework are within the reach of the budgetary allocations of Baton
Rouge and would be manageable instead of taxing the general populace further (Steinberg, et. al., 2011).
The infrastructural issue in Baton
Rouge and Louisiana, in general, will not be solved by an infusion of more
funding either from taxation or the federal funds. The change will only be
visible if there is a change in policy and infrastructure being taken as a
serious issue in the region (Theadvocate.com, 2015). The facts were
demonstrated by the CRISIS 2014 data that indicated that the Louisiana’s
Transportation Trust Fund that is the state’s primary source of transportation
spending funded by the state gas tax held $685.6M. Out of the amount, more than
80% of the money was allocated to things other than the infrastructure such as
the operations of DOTD, state police and
the debt servicing of TIMED program (Theadvocate.com, 2015). It left less than
20% of the revenue to be invested in infrastructural projects. It means that
the income having been collected primarily from the taxation on gas, it is
still not utilized for the infrastructural improvement of the region meaning
that it is not of importance to the policy makers. Therefore, even with an
increase in taxation on the population, it will still not solve the
transportation menace in the region since the policy frameworks do not prioritize
The expected output of the taxes is
minimal compared to the needs and pressure on the infrastructure in the region.
The assumption that increased taxation of the public to fund the
infrastructural development in Louisiana as a state and Baton Rouge, in
particular, is a financially unsustainable model (Theadvocate.com, 2015). It is
important to engage the same public to other alternatives that are more
sustainable such as a change in preferences and lifestyle. It would be
efficient to have the population avoid the use of personal cars and take up
measures such as living closer to workplaces so that they can walk to workplaces
One may also encourage the use of the less congesting means such as bicycles
just like some countries such as China that have efficiently reduced traffic
congestions through the use of bicycle instead of vehicles. The government
could also encourage the use of public means of transport such as trains and
buses which carry more people at once thus reducing the number of motorists on
the already congested roads. Encouraging access to quality transit and walkable
communities to lessen the need for car ownership may significantly reduce the
In conclusion, the problem in Baton
Rouge is not an issue that came overnight but is an indication of decades of
poor infrastructural policies coupled with lean budgets for the sector. The
governance may have overlooked the continued demand and pressure on the
infrastructure of the region. Traffic and infrastructural issues have also
become so significant that it will cost the state billions of dollars that
cannot be raised overnight. However, some strategies can be employed to address
the issues through the development of work plans on how to expand, upgrade and
maintain the existing infrastructure in the region. The state has also been
receiving taxes from the public over the years but allocated insufficient funds
for addressing the infrastructural issues of the region. As a result, the
populace has further incurred other costs such as auto insurance and extra
mechanical repair costs due to the inadequate road systems. Therefore, the
federal and state governments should find other avenues to fund the repair maintenance
and upgrade of the infrastructure in Baton Rouge and Louisiana in general
without increasing taxation on the citizens.
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