A bill to increase the gas tax by 17 cents a gallon has won approval in a House Committee and it's headed to the House floor this week.

The increase would bring in more than $500 million dollars to fund repairs to roads and bridges, but the measure faces quite a fight on the House floor. It needs a 2/3 majority or 70 votes to win passage and that is expected to be an uphill fight.

There are only three weeks left in the session and right now only about 50 members of the House say they will support the increase.

Ways and Means Committee Vice Chairman Jim Morris of Oil City voted against the measure in the committee meeting. He cited the recent failure of tax renewals in Caddo Parish. He says that sends a clear message that the public is against any taxes.

Morris tells The Advocate:

It is just a perfect storm not to do the gas tax right now. Today is just not the day.

Two other local lawmakers on the Ways and Means Committee, Dodie Horton of Haughton and Alan Seabaugh of Shreveport voted against the increase.

The state has a backlog of more than $13 billion in projects that need attention, including the Jimmie Davis Bridge in NW Louisiana.

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