CA 6 23     

§23.  Long Range Highway Fund; revenues to be paid into Fund; bonds for construction, maintenance, improvement and extension of state highways; limitations; withdrawal of funds for state and parish highways and roads; continuation of certain taxes

Section 23.  (1)  Subject to dedication or other contractual allocations heretofore made by the Constitution there shall hereafter be paid into a special fund in the Treasury to be known as the Long Range Highway Fund, all revenues derived from the following sources:

(a)  All taxes levied by or under the Authority of Article VI, Section 22, of the Constitution except the Kerosene tax;

(b)  The tax levied by Article VI(A) of the Constitution;

(c)  Use fuel tax;

(d)  Taxes levied upon lubricating oil;

(e)  Taxes for licenses on all motor vehicles and other vehicles on public highways;

(f)  The amount of the proceeds of all royalties and bonuses including annual delay rentals and other income dedicated by Article IV, Section 2(c), of the Constitution to the Louisiana Department of Highways.  

No pledge or dedication of revenues derived from any of the aforesaid sources shall hereafter be made except as provided in this Section.

(2)  To provide funds for the construction, maintenance, improvement and extension of State highways and the necessary bridges, overpasses, underpasses and tunnels situated thereon, the Board of Highways for and on behalf of the State of Louisiana, by and with the consent of the State Advisory Board, may issue bonds of the State of Louisiana, the principal and interest of which, irrespective of the dates of issuance thereof, shall be payable, on a parity, primarily from the moneys in the Long Range Highway Fund.  Such bonds shall be the general obligations of the State of Louisiana, for the payment of which the full faith and credit of the State shall be pledged.  The payment of the principal and interest of said bonds shall be the first charge upon the moneys in the Long Range Highway Fund and the Treasurer of Louisiana shall in each fiscal year set aside for the payment of the principal and interest of all bonds issued under the authority of this Section, which may then be outstanding, the aggregate amount of the principal and interest due thereon in such fiscal year and the amount contracted to be set aside in said fiscal year in sinking funds or reserve funds for the payment of the principal of such bonds dues in subsequent fiscal years.  Said bonds shall mature at such time or times as the Board of Highways shall determine within twenty-five (25) years from their date, and shall bear interest at a rate not exceeding four per centum (4%) per annum, payable semi-annually, and shall be in such denominations and form as the Board of Highways shall determine, and shall be redeemable at such times and at such redemption premiums as shall be determined by the Board of Highways and set forth in said bonds.  The principal and interest of said bonds shall be payable in lawful money of the United States of America at the office of the Treasurer of the State of Louisiana, in the City of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, or at the State's fiscal agency in the City of New York, State of New York, at the option of the holder.  Said bonds shall be sold to the highest bidder upon sealed proposals at public sale for not less than par and accrued interest, after advertisement published by the Board of Highways at least ten (10) days in advance of the date of sale in newspapers or financial journals published in the Cities of New Orleans, Louisiana, Chicago, Illinois, New York, New York, and such other places as the Board of Highways may determine, reserving to the Board of Highways the right to reject any and all bids, and the right to readvertise for new bids in the manner herein provided.  

Said bonds shall be signed by the Governor, the Auditor and the Treasurer of the State of Louisiana, provided that the signatures of the Governor and Auditor on said bonds may be printed, lithographed or engraved thereon.  Any coupons attached to said bonds shall bear the facsimile signature of the Treasurer of the State of Louisiana.  Said bonds are hereby declared to have the qualities of negotiable instruments under the law of Louisiana, and shall not be invalid for any irregularity or defect in the proceedings for the issuance and sale thereof, and shall be incontestable in the hands of bona fide purchasers or holders thereof.  

No proceedings or approvals with respect to such bonds or the issuance and sale thereof shall be necessary except such as are contemplated by this Section.  

(3)(a)  No bonds may be issued under the authority of this Section unless the moneys paid into the Long Range Highway Fund during the preceding fiscal year shall have been not less than twice the maximum payment required to be made in any fiscal year on account of the principal, interest, sinking fund or reserve fund requirements with respect to all bonds issued and outstanding under authority of this Section and the bonds then proposed to be issued, which facts shall be certified to the Board of Highways by the Treasurer of Louisiana and the determination of such facts so made by the Treasurer of Louisiana shall be conclusive.  

(b)  No more than Thirty Million Dollars ($30,000,000.00) in bonds shall be issued in any one fiscal year and no more than a total of Sixty Million Dollars ($60,000,000.00) in bonds shall be issued under the authority of this Section.  This provision is hereby excepted from the contractual obligation to the holders of the bonds issued under authority of this Section and may be changed by constitutional amendment without violating the contractual arrangement with said bondholders.  

(4)  The Department of Highways shall be entitled to withdraw in each fiscal year all moneys remaining in the Long Range Highway Fund, after the Treasurer of Louisiana shall have first set aside the amounts required for the payment of the principal of and the interest upon outstanding bonds issued under authority of this Section, and shall be entitled to use such moneys for the construction, maintenance, improvement and extension of State highways and the necessary bridges, overpasses, underpasses and tunnels situated thereon, and for the construction of roads and bridges on the parish road system, now or hereafter existing, in the amount of Two Million Three Hundred Fifty-seven Thousand Dollars ($2,357,000.00) each fiscal year.  

(5)  The tax of four cents (4¢) per gallon on gasoline, benzine, naphtha and other motor fuels and the additional tax thereon of one cent (1¢) per gallon now levied under authority of Article VI, Section 22, of the Constitution, shall continue to be levied until all dedications of the proceeds of said taxes heretofore made shall have expired, at which time said taxes shall be consolidated into a tax of five cents (5¢) per gallon on gasoline, benzine, naphtha and other motor fuels and said tax shall continue to be levied so long as any bonds issued under authority of this Section are outstanding and the proceeds of such tax shall be paid into the Long Range Highway Fund and applied as provided in this Section.  

If science or invention should reduce the use and consumption of gasoline, benzine, naphtha or other motor fuels to such an extent that the tax on such commodities should not be sufficient to retire the bonds issued under the authority of this Section, including the interest due thereon, then the Legislature shall have the authority to levy a tax upon any commodity, substance, appliance or paraphernalia, or to impose a license upon the right to sell or make use of such commodity, substance, appliance or paraphernalia, which may be sold or used to generate or supply motor fuel or other power for transportation; to levy such tax or license, or both, or such other taxes as may be necessary to pay said bonds and the interest thereon, and this authority shall in no wise affect the tax levied under the authority of the Constitution and statutes of the State upon gasoline, benzine, naphtha or other motor fuel as defined by law, or be subject to any limitation imposed by the Constitution.  

In like manner, the one cent (1¢) gasoline tax levied under Article VI(A), of the Constitution, the use fuel tax, the tax on lubricating oil, and taxes for licenses on all motor vehicles and other vehicles shall continue to be levied so long as any bonds issued under authority of this Section are outstanding and the proceeds of such taxes subject to prior dedication, as aforesaid, shall be paid into the Long Range Highway Fund and applied as provided in this Section.  

(6)  Except as otherwise provided in Section (3)(b) hereof, the provisions of this Section shall constitute a contract between the State of Louisiana and the holder or holders of any bonds or coupons issued under the authority hereof.  

(Added by Acts 1955, No. 141, adopted Nov. 6, 1956.)