pothole in road

Reality Check: Fixing Our Roads IS Good Politics

Governors across the South have signed gas tax bills for long-term sustainable funding to fix decaying roads and bridges. Governors like Arkansas’ Asa Hutchinson, Alabama’s Kay Ivey, South Carolina’s Henry McMaster and Tennessee’s Bill Haslem all championed and signed bills that implemented a gas tax to be phased in over time and provide consistent, long-term funding for much-needed roads projects.

Like the rest of the South, the people of Mississippi are not opposed to the notion of a gas tax that would be phased in over time. In a recent poll, 67% of respondents said they’d support a 12-cent gas tax increase if it was phased in over a four-year period.

In a recent interview, Governor-elect Tate Reeves claimed the people of Mississippi gave him the “mandate” to block higher taxes and to implement the policies championed during his campaign. Reeves won the general election by just 5% over Democratic candidate and former Attorney General Jim Hood in November.

Reeves went through a long primary election resulting in a run-off with former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Bill Waller. Justice Waller campaigned heavily on long-term solutions to repair Mississippi’s roads and bridges, often being seen on the campaign trail with a red hat reading, “Make Mississippi Roads Great Again”.

When comparing the Governor’s election numbers, other state-wide officeholders in Mississippi won by much greater margins; with Lt. Governor-elect Delbert Hosemann winning the election by a margin of over 20 points. Hosemann campaigned heavily on a solution to repair deteriorating roads and bridges, even proposing a form of a gas tax that would let counties decide on whether they want to implement a plan to help fix its roads and bridges.

Even further, 91% of legislators across the country who have voted for a gas tax as a long-term, sustainable solution for deteriorating and dangerous roads and bridges, have been re-elected. This further shows that legislators who support such a plan have been backed and supported by their voters.

The claim that Mississippi voters have given the Governor-elect a “mandate” to block any new form of taxes, including a gas tax to repair our roads and bridges is simply not true when looking at the facts. Voters have spoken through polls, elections and American Road and Transportation Builders Association statistics, showing support for legislators around the country that support long-term plans for roads and bridges.