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In the mid-1980s, Mississippi went from one of the worst highway systems in the country to one of the best. This didn’t happen with one-time bonding money or short-term lottery revenues. While the Special Session of 2018 addressed some immediate needs, a long-term, sustainable solution still needs to be addressed.
Over 1300 miles of brand new 4 lane highway were built across the state of Mississippi as a result of the 1987 Road Bill which allowed Mississippi to not only catch up to the rest of the country but to accelerate in front, rising up to number 1 in the mid-south and 6th best in the entire United States. Fast forward to today, Mississippi has one of the worst-rated transportation systems in the country, 45th according to the U.S. News and World Report.
Dick Hall, the Central District Transportation Commissioner feels the lottery funding will not provide as much relief as many are claiming it will. He recently spoke to WJTV, “That lottery may raise 70-80 million dollars something like that (improvement like the 1987 Road Bill) we need 3 or 4 hundred million — that special session certainly it helped it’ll fix some potholes it’s not the answer — they’ve got to get serious about it.”
To solve the problem of Mississippi’s transportation system, a new road bill with a commitment for recurring revenue is necessary. Mississippi’s roads and bridges have far-reaching effects. Hall goes onto say, “Mississippi needs all the prosperity we can get a hold of and it’s not going to happen with an antiquated transportation system.”
Mississippi’s economy relies heavily on its roads and bridges as over $284 billion in goods are shipped through the state annually, mostly by truck. Our state needs a long-term, sustainable solution if we plan to keep up with the rest of the country, it’s time to Fix Mississippi’s roads.