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House committee passes bill to increase La.’s gas tax by 17 cents per gallon

BATON ROUGE — A state House committee narrowly advanced a bill that would raise Louisiana’s gasoline tax by 17 cents per gallon.

The House Ways and Means Committee voted 9-7 to advance the measure, which if approved would raise more than $500 million a year. The money would be dedicated to roads and bridges, including big projects like a new bridge across the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge.

Two New Orleans area lawmakers who serve on the committee – Republican state Rep. Julie Stokes of Kenner and Democratic state Rep. James Bouie of New Orleans, voted in favor of the tax.

The measure advanced in committee after three hours of debate.

State Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn Wilson spoke in favor of the tax.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives, where it needs a two-thirds majority to advance to the Senate.

The session concludes June 8.