The toll bridge on Highway 1 at Leeville isnít working to its expectations because some 300,000 crossers who are expected to pay arenít.
It seems that when you donít have toll gates collecting money, many drivers donít pay. And that seems to be the case here.
We donít know exactly why, but apparently there are too many loopholes when a toll taker isnít asking for your money. Crossers of the bridge are expected to buy tickets in advance, which are recorded electronically when their vehicles go over the bridge. But apparently, quite a few are getting by free.
The $365 million bridge leads to Grand Isle and Fourchon. It was built to replace a bridge that was finished in 1969 that had been built to replace a bridge that stood in 10 feet of water but later became inundated with 40 feet of water as the Louisiana coast deteriorated.
The bridge and approaching highways are great improvements to our coastal road system. They serve the Port Fourchon area that provides one of the greatest economic benefits to southeast Louisiana.
The Fourchon area south of Golden Meadow has hundreds of oil rigs located within a 40-mile radius.
The La. 1 route is used to haul about 20 percent of the nationís crude oil and natural gas supplies and more than 8,000 cars and trucks use the bridge daily. Most cars, if they pay, pay $2.50 daily and trucks pay a top charge of $12. Those amounts will probably be increased to try and cover deficits in paying off bonds for the bridge.
But certainly our state needs a good highway system to the productive areas of our coast, which affect the livelihoods of most of the people of our state. And that system needs to be supported by sound financial backing.
We need to solve this problem existing at one of our most productive roadways in Louisiana. And a little bit of mathematics here should do it.