Dec 17, 2010 11:45 PM by Shawn Kline
Drive through Lafayette- down Johnston Street or US 90 and it seems to take forever to get from here to there.
For years, the state has planned to improve the infrastructure but the money just isn't there.
Now, highway experts are looking to tap into a new source of funding.... Tolls. But before you shriek at the idea of having a car full of change, highway consultants tell me the option may actually save you money and time.
Population is rising in Acadiana; more than doubling in some areas. With rising population comes increased traffic.
To ease traffic congestion, the Department of Transportation is in a long and expensive process of upgrading US 90 to interstate standards.
The complete cost, estimated at more than four billion dollars. Money taxpayers haven't been able to fork over but the Lafayette Metropolitan Expressway Commission has an idea...
"It could probably generate enough money for us to build it," Highway Consultant Kam Movassaghi said. "A project we've been waiting for for at least 25 years."
Movassaghi is talking about tolls. He says they would cost drivers some spare change but they could also save you from wasting time and gas.
"You can go all the way through and never slow down and never stop," Movassaghi said.
Recent studies show nearly half of the cost to upgrade US 90 could be covered by tolls but much like rush hour traffic, the project needs a green light before becoming a reality.
"If it is feasable, then this is something for the commission to consider." Movassaghi says, "if it is not feasable, then we will not be able to pursue it."
The possibility of a toll booth is still in a research stage but consultants say if the tolls become reality, major construction could begin right here in just three years.