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Commissioners voice concern for needed highway revenue

JACKSON, Miss.- Three State Transportation Commissioners are in agreement that more money needs to be invested to meet the needs of highways and bridges reported local media.

The question is, how will they convince a Legislature that is tight on raising taxes or adding new ones, to give them that money?

“I believe that now would be the time to increase the fuel tax,” said Commissioner Tom King. “In 2007, it will have been 30 years since it was last adjusted.”

Other commissioners are in agreement that raising this tax would be the best method to attain the funds they need.

However, the Commissioner for the Northern District, Mike Tagert said he thinks more than one source will need to be adjusted.

The agency is a special fund agency in which all of their fees come from the gas tax and reimbursements. They are not asking for physical moneys from Legislature, just a change in what is being taxed.

The Transportation Department estimates that maintenance for roads would cost an additional $694 million per year an additional $145 million for bridges and for the next five years, $125 million to maintain.

“If we were able to bite the bullet and fund our infrastructure the way it needs to be,” Tagert said, “That’s not just fixing the problem for us – that’s fixing the problem four, five, six generations down the line.”

The majority of funding for state highways and bridges comes from the Federal Government each year.

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