Wednesday, January 6, 2016

What To Expect: Mississippi Roads and Bridges Falling Through the Cracks and Potholes

This is Part 3 of a series this week highlighting what to expect from the Mississippi Legislature this session.

For the past few years, legislative leaders and business leaders have been sounding the alarm at the deteriorating condition of Mississippi’s infrastructure. Article after article has highlighted the problems with our extensive network of state highways and bridges. It’s so bad that PEER is recommending an official chain of command to alert bus drivers and school districts of faulty bridges.

Last year seemed to be the year – this was it – the Mississippi Economic Council pounded the war drum and called on their legislative friends to make this happen. But, when Republicans realized they were going to have to raise the gas tax… gasp… during an election year… plans were curtailed to letting MEC has a study committee.

While many study committees become a place where ideas go to die, MEC has in fact “studied” the issue, and they are looking at the legislature to make it happen this year. Their plan includes making people who use the roads pay for the roads – in other words – a regressive increase in the gas tax. 

If this all comes to fruition through a gas tax increase (or some other tax or fee because there just isn’t money lying around to fix all the infrastructure needs), Republicans will have to vote for it. There will be no way to politically manipulate the situation as in year’s past and force the Democrats and safe Republicans to vote for it and then assault them in mail pieces come election time. 

In the meantime, safe driving. Watch for other cars, watch for animals, and watch for falling bridges.

No comments: