JACKSON, Miss. — If you’ve driven down a state highway or road lately, how smooth was your ride?
If the answer is bumpy, Central District Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall said on Tuesday it’s probably because the Mississippi Department of Transportation doesn’t have the needed funds to maintain it.
“I’m just trying to make the case about how desperately we need more resources,” he said. “We’re going to be driving on gravel roads. I don’t know what it takes to convince folks that we have a problem.”
Hall has been an advocate of raising the 18 cent per gallon Mississippi gas tax in the past, and said he doesn’t care how the extra revenue is achieved, as long as it happens.
“I’m for more resources and I’m going to leave it up to the legislature as to what shape it takes,” he said. “It can be to raise the gas tax as it is, change the flat tax to a percentage, or it can be some kind of vehicle miles traveled tax.”
The commissioner lamented that until the people of Mississippi get fed up and complain to the legislature that no action will probably be taken.
The last time that the state gas tax was raised in Mississippi was 1987.
“It’s been over 25 years since there’s been an adjustment,” said Hall. “There are only four other states in the nation that have a gas tax lower than Mississippi’s. I think every quarter century we could take a look at this.”
To go along with the Mississippi tax, the federal tax is also 18 cents.