Not just in Mississippi, voters around the country went to the ballot box in November supporting the need for increased funding for roads and bridges. Even though promising, this is nothing new. Data compiled by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, 81 percent of nearly 2,000 ballot initiatives since 2010 have won the approval of voters. Even more promising, that high number isn’t going anywhere as 89 percent of the 305 state and local ballot initiatives seeking to generate revenue for transportation were approved by voters during the November elections around the country.
The approval for funding has not been limited to the ballot box with 30 state legislatures voting to increase their gas tax since 2013. Mississippi’s neighbors across the Southeast have followed suit with Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas recently approving an increase to fund better roads and bridges. Voters’ support for funding for better roads and bridges has become so well-known and recognized that a recent article published in the The Hill wrote, “Voters from Maine to Texas spoke loud and clear: They are sick and tired of endless car repair bills from driving on roads littered with potholes, exasperated at being stuck in endless traffic jams and frustrated at not having enough transit options.”
Mississippi’s November elections showed the people of our state feel the same sense of urgency to fix our crumbling roads and bridges as the rest of the country. In November, Lt. Governor-elect Delbert Hosemann won by over 20 points and campaigned heavily on a need to fix our state’s roads and bridges. Just last week Hosemann spoke to the media, bringing up the state’s transportation system as a top issue that will be addressed in the upcoming legislative session, reconvening in January.
Just like the rest of the country, Mississippi is ready for a long-term, sustainable funding solution for better roads and bridges. 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. While issues continue to divide voters across the country, roads and bridges continue to be an issue where voters from both sides of the aisle can agree. Better roads and bridges lead to lower costs for drivers, safer commutes and better business climates.