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Road bill passes, sent to Governor’s desk

Photo by News Mississippi

Mississippi’s roads and bridges are about to get a large boost in funding. 

On day three of the special session, the House voted to pass the Mississippi Infrastructure Modernization Act (MIMA) with the Senate’s changes, and it will now be sent to Governor Bryant’s desk to be signed. Governor Bryant recently stated that discussions on the bill began back in April after no deal for infrastructure funding was reached during the 2018 session. 

The funding strategy will use revenue from a potential lottery, sports betting, internet sales tax and vehicle user fees to create $200 million for the state’s roads and bridges each year. 

As for the use tax, a portion of the funds will be delivered to cities and counties. Before the session began Governor Bryant said that 15% will go to cities, 15% will go to counties and 5% will go to state-aid roads. 

“If it were up to me, we’d put all of the money into cities and counties, but MDOT obviously has some roads that need repairs,” Governor Bryant said. 

The Governor also discussed the decision-making process of calling this special session, and the importance of fixing roads and bridges across the state after a state of emergency was declared earlier this year. 

“In April, I had to make a difficult decision to close over 500 bridges across the state of Mississippi. Bridges that were unsafe, bridges that really challenged the very safety of the motoring public. I also made a decision at that time to move forward with funding,” he said.

Governor Bryant praised the leadership in both the House and the Senate to get this deal done. Lt. Governor Tate Reeves stated that while there may have been disagreement at times, the end result will help the entire state.

“When you’re in the legislative process, the details matter. The words on the page really matter. Sometimes it takes longer than any of us would like, sometimes we don’t get everything we want, but the reality is that the end result is over a billion dollars more in public infrastructure,” Reeves said.

Lawmakers will continue to debate the future of the lottery bill, and the BP oil settlement in the remaining days of the special session. 

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