A plan by New Orleans & Co., the recently rebranded Convention and Visitors Bureau, would increase the hotel tax by half a penny to generate tens of millions of dollars for infrastructure repairs in the city.
Stephen Perry, president of New Orleans & Co., said the plan would generate $6.5 million annual revenue. That would swell to $81.1 million after it is bonded out.
The annual revenue would then be used to pay back the bonds.
Perry said details are still being worked out but that a master plan must be done before any money would be spent. The goal, he said, would be to make sure there is confidence in how the dollars are used.
The announcement comes as City Hall and the Sewerage & Water Board grapple with ways to pay for repairs to aging and antiquated equipment and to repair crumbling roads.
It also follows a brief flirtation Mayor LaToya Cantrell had with asking state lawmakers to move some money from agencies such as New Orleans & Co. and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and Ernest N. Morial Convention Center to help pay for those much-needed repairs.
State lawmakers -- including Gov. John Bel Edwards -- quickly shot down that idea, citing restrictions on those dollars, such as bond obligations.
The proposed fund Perry announced Thursday would be set aside strictly for infrastructure repairs. The state Legislature would have to approve the plan, something Perry said he hopes will happen during the 2019 session.
Stay with Eyewitness News on WWL-TV and WWLTV.com for more on this developing story.