Mississippi Transportation Commission makes a case for more infrastructure funding

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The Mississippi Transportation Commission addressed the critical need for new, recurring sources of revenue and warned of the effects of underfunding infrastructure at a press conference held at the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) administration building.

Speakers included Commissioner Willie Simmons, Chairman, Mississippi Transportation Commission; Commissioner John Caldwell, Northern Transportation District; and Commissioner Charles Busby, Southern Transportation District. Commissioners say long-term funding sources should be established to help MDOT meet current demands and expand capacity for future transportation needs.

“We need that money on our highways so even besides all the other tax revenue sources you’re going to talk about, that money is available,” said Caldwell. “That money was not spent on us and we need to make sure that we’re a priority. We’re a core function of government, we have to be the priority of the funders (Legislature),”

Full Audio: John Caldwell, Northern Transportation District

 

As vehicles become more fuel efficient and electric vehicle use rises, MDOT’s primary source of revenue–the gas tax–is declining. Meanwhile, inflation has driven up costs for materials and labor. Inadequate funding paired with increased costs will create a sizable funding shortfall in the coming years.

While MDOT was fortunate to receive significant funding from state and federal sources in the past few years, those funds are considered “one-time money,” not recurring. Several proposals have been made to establish long-term funding sources for MDOT without raising taxes. Proposed new streams of revenue include readdressing the formula for lottery funds, diverting a portion of unobligated funds from the use tax and diverting unobligated funds from gaming revenue.

“The money we received recently puts us in a position of investing in Right-of-Way acquisition and design, but we’re not going to be able to complete those projects. We need recurring dollars,” said Simmons. “With inflation going the way it is, if we look in the future, capacity projects that we delay today are only going to cost us more money and delay the process of putting Mississippi where it should be in recruiting industry and maintaining infrastructure.”

Mississippi Transportation Commissioners contend that without new, recurring revenue streams, MDOT will not have the necessary funding to sustain and fully meet Mississippi’s infrastructure needs moving forward.

The three-member Mississippi Transportation Commission is tasked with the oversight of state transportation resources and operations. These elected officials represent three geographic areas in the state as defined by the Supreme Court Districts: Northern, Central and Southern.

For more information, visit GoMDOT.com.

1 comment
  1. Robert Summers
    Robert Summers
    April 13, 2024 at 11:11 AM

    What happened to all the funds we were supposed to get from the Casinos?

    Reply

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