Did a measure passed by the Louisiana House yesterday open the door for a new toll bridge on Interstate 10? Well, if you believe long-range thinkers from Calcasieu Parish you might be inclined to believe that can happen.

Yesterday the Louisiana House passed legislation that would allow for the creation of a Calcasieu Tolling Authority. This "tolling authority" if passed by the Louisiana Senate could mean a faster track to replace the I-10 bridge over the Calcasieu River in Lake Charles.

If you're not familiar with that bridge let's just say it's had its share of issues over the past few years. Almost everyone from the State Highway Department to DOTD to local residents and motorists agrees the bridge needs some work. What we haven't been able to agree on is where the money to repair and replace such a massive structure would come from.

With the creation of a tolling authority, proponents of a new bridge in Lake Charles could have just found their funding. Now a lot of water will have to pass under that bridge before those grand plans can even get to the drawing board.

First, the Louisiana Senate must pass the legislation for the tolling authority. Then will come the debate and discussion of what is a fair and equitable toll. Representative Mark Abraham of Lake Charles who authored the legislation suggests the amount charged for the toll will go a long way in determining the eventual success or failure of the bridge replacement strategy.

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