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Infrastructure bill heads to House for continued negotiations

Photo courtesy Telesouth Communications Inc.

The Senate has voted to spend more than $1 billion on a wide range of infrastructure projects to support the long-term growth of the economy in Mississippi. However, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves says that there is still a ways to go before the bill is signed into law.

“I don’t know that the plan as it is currently written is going to make it through the House in its entirety,” said Reeves. 

The bill will spend the money over the course of a five-year time period and while Reeves said that 90 to 95% of the money will be going to roads and bridges, railroads, ports, and water and sewer systems would fall under the bill as well.

“While the bill has a lot of moving parts, none of the moving parts are really that complicated,” Reeves said. 

BRIDGE stands for “Building Roads. Improving Development. Growing the Economy.” Reeves said that the Senate plans to utilize many of the concepts that were developed and supported by local mayors, supervisors, senators, and some of the bills that were passed by the House of Representatives.

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs said President Trump’s plan is to upgrade and modernize American infrastructure and Flaggs says the BRIDGE Act would make it easier for the state to receive federal funds. Trump’s plan will also return decision-making authority to the states, invest in rural America, streamline the permitting process and eliminate regulatory burdens.

“Between the President’s bill and what they are doing in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, we are all going in the right direction, we just have to fine-tune the details,” said Flaggs.

Mayor Flaggs, who was sitting next to President Trump as he outlined his infrastructure plan, said that he was honored to represent the small towns in the South who are dealing with failing infrastructure.

“By me sitting between him and the Secretary of Transportation he was trying to convey that he wants to get the money down to the local community where the potholes are, where the bridges are collapsing and not just at the state level and the federal level where all of this bureaucracy is in place and you can’t get the money down,” Flaggs said. “I applaud the President, I applaud the leadership of the Mississippi legislature and the Governor for what they are doing. I think we are all on the same pathway to the future, but right now we are just in different vehicles. At the end of the day, I think both the federal and state government will be on the bus at the same time because our infrastructure is so important. We cannot sit idly by while potholes and bridges are collapsing and the streets of America’s counties and cities are not safe.”

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