After weeks of hinting at it, Governor Bryant has confirmed that he’ll call lawmakers back to Jackson for a special session.
On Twitter, the Governor stated that the special session will take place next Thursday as lawmakers attempt to find a permanent solution to funding Mississippi’s infrastructure.
I will call a special session of the Mississippi Legislature to be held on August 23. It will address infrastructure repair and maintenance and a plan to allocate BP money that prioritizes our Gulf Coast’s economy.
— Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) August 17, 2018
While all of the specifics have not been debated on the floor, Governor Bryant previously stated that funding for the state’s maligned roads and bridges will see a dramatic increase if all goes according to plan.
“We will be able to add roughly $200 million into roads and bridges in the state of Mississippi,” said Bryant. “It will start the first year of 2019 and go into $260 million that will grow after that, so you will eventually reach the $300 million, but in the first three years of this plan, we have put over $600 million into roads and bridges in the state of Mississippi without raising taxes.”
As for where the funds will come from, the Governor has mentioned several different revenue streams which could offer a boost.
“Are people now ready to look at funding sources like a lottery, like a use-tax, like sports betting? For at least the first five years, can we dedicate [sports betting revenue] to infrastructure? There will be challenges, but we’ve never anything this challenging easily, so I expect some strong debate,” the Governor said while speaking at an event a few weeks ago.
Several infrastructure bills were introduced during the 2018 legislative session, but no comprehensive funding plans were passed.
Since the end of the session, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves and Speaker of the House Phillip Gunn have had continued discussions as they attempt to strike a deal that both chambers can agree on.