LA Rep. Karen St. Germain

Amy Jeffries

When the legislature’s Joint Transportation Committee met Thursday, it was farewell for the two leaders: Senator Robert Adley of Benton and Representative Karen St. Germain of Plaquemine:

“Senator, if I may, I just want to thank you and the chairlady for you-all’s hard work on the Transportation Committee for the last 4 years,” Rep. Terry Landry of New Iberia said, prompting applause from all the members.

Both Adley and St. Germain were term-limited this year. Yet their final meeting also saw the start of a pilot to get construction projects going, despite Louisiana’s cash-strapped status.

Louisiana’s $1.6-billion budget hole is doing nothing to help with the state’s $14-billion backlog of road and bridge projects.

“We kicked the can down the road, but we lost it in a pothole. And we can’t get the can out,” says House Transportation chair Karen St. Germain.

So she offered two tax-raising measures to solve the problem. One, HB 778, increases the state’s sales tax by a penny. The other, HB 777, ups the tax on fuel, gasoline and diesel, by ten cents per gallon.

“We have told the Governor we give up. We’re ready to go home,” Senator Robert Adley announced, prompting laughter from his fellow lawmakers, as Senate President John Alario responded, “Very good.”

2014 can be viewed as a session of hits and misses. Governor Jindal told the press he believes he scored a hit with his budget, which includes pay raises for state workers, as well as a bit more money for higher education.