Gov. Reeves’ First State of the State Mentions State’s Roads and Jobs

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Governor Tate Reeves’ first State of the State speech touched on all of the hot button issues affecting Mississippians across the state: teacher pay, the ongoing prison crisis, and healthcare. Governor Reeves also spoke on the need to improve Mississippi’s roads and bridges as well as better paying jobs for all Mississippians.

Reeves addressed the crowd, full of statewide officials, lawmakers and other guests, on jobs by saying, “Income must go up in our state – for every Mississippian. Better paying jobs – quality jobs – are just around the corner.”

The reality is nothing creates new, high paying, quality jobs like a roads bill. A comprehensive, sustainable plan to fix and maintain roads and bridges across the state would create thousands of new jobs for all Mississippians. Conservative Southern states with Republican governors, like South Carolina, have passed gas-taxes in recent years to do just this. In South Carolina, “the industry (asphalt) is preparing for an additional 1000 jobs in the next five years.”

Continuing his speech, Governor Reeves briefly touched on roads and bridges, saying, “Mississippi roads and bridges need our attention. From ports to potholes, we must continue to be intentional about improving our infrastructure.” The legislature met for a special session in 2018 and graciously designated funds for roads and bridges. While Mississippians are thankful for these funds, the funds allocated are not a long-term, sustainable solution nor does it provide consistent funding to the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT).

To accomplish the goals of fixing the state’s transportation infrastructure mentioned in the address, we need our lawmakers to work together for a comprehensive plan to not only fix our roads and bridges but maintain them for all Mississippians. A user fee, or a gas-tax, has been widely effective across the Southeast. Conservative states like Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina have all passed gas taxes. Drivers would pay far less at the pump, only a few cents per gallon than what they currently pay in car repairs due to roads and bridges.