According to an article recently published on Forbes, Mississippi roads rank among the worst in the country with close to a third of major public roads in the state being classified as in “poor condition.” Major public roads are vital for a state’s well-being. Without quality, functioning roadways our state’s economy is hindered from growth. Major public roads connect industries and people to one another and allow them to transport goods throughout the state.
According to a report written in 2017 by TRIP, a national transportation research group, every $1 of deferred maintenance on roads and bridges has been found to cost an additional $4 to $5 in needed future repairs. In turn, every dollar that our state’s government decides NOT to invest in roads and bridges costs taxpayers even more in the future. It has been 30 years since Mississippi last adjusted the gas tax, making it nearly impossible to fund the rising cost of asphalt, concrete, labor, machinery and other construction materials. Referring to an article published by ITEP, Mississippi is one of only two states that have waited 30 years or more to raise its gas tax, joining only Alaska.
The economic well-being of the state depends on a reliable and safe network of roads and bridges to transport goods and services. Gas taxes cannot adequately fund roads and bridges projects if they are not adjusted to keep pace with the prices of rising construction costs. States around the country are coming to this realization as a number of states have adjusted their gas tax in the past decade — with Ohio being the most recent and 30th state to adjust or reform its gas tax. The future of Mississippi depends heavily on an effective roads system with far-reaching benefits to the overall quality of life in our state.