Louisiana lawmakers approve $2.1B Calcasieu River bridge deal


Lawmakers approved a public-private partnership last week to build a $2.1 billion toll bridge over the Calcasieu River after officials renegotiated an initial deal rejected in October, reports New Orleans City Business.

Joe Donahue, the newly appointed secretary of the Department of Transportation and Development, presented a series of changes the department negotiated to bring down the cost of tolls and the burden on taxpayers to replace the 71-year-old Calcasieu River Bridge near Lake Charles.

The vote reverses an 8-6 decision in October to reject the public-private partnership, known as a P3.

The renegotiated agreement would expand a 25-cent toll with a vehicle size limit for locals to all noncommercial vehicles in a 5-parish area. It would reduce the toll for large trucks from $12.50 with a transponder to $8.25. Large trucks without transponders would pay $12.36 instead of $18.73. Read more.