Transportation funding bill questioned by MDOT leaders - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Transportation funding bill questioned by MDOT leaders

MDOT Central Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall says if Senate bill 3046 is passed, it would use revenue reserves, instead of money allocated in the budget, to pave roads and build bridges.  Source: WLBT MDOT Central Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall says if Senate bill 3046 is passed, it would use revenue reserves, instead of money allocated in the budget, to pave roads and build bridges.  Source: WLBT
MDOT Central Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall says if Senate bill 3046 is passed, it would use revenue reserves, instead of money allocated in the budget, to pave roads and build bridges.  Source: WLBT MDOT Central Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall says if Senate bill 3046 is passed, it would use revenue reserves, instead of money allocated in the budget, to pave roads and build bridges.  Source: WLBT
MDOT Central Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall says if Senate bill 3046 is passed, it would use revenue reserves, instead of money allocated in the budget, to pave roads and build bridges.  Source: WLBT MDOT Central Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall says if Senate bill 3046 is passed, it would use revenue reserves, instead of money allocated in the budget, to pave roads and build bridges.  Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) -

Every year, the State of Mississippi spends about $1.1 billion on highway and bridge projects and upkeep.

That money includes federal funding, which is behind the drafting of a Senate bill that is causing some waves among transportation officials.

MDOT Central Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall says if Senate bill 3046 is passed, it would use revenue reserves, instead of money allocated in the budget, to pave roads and build bridges. 

The bill has already passed a Senate vote.

"They're talking about 600 to 800 million new dollars appearing in the rainy day fund," said Hall. "That rainy day fund has been depleted the last three years, totally to balance the state budget, there is no money there."

Governor Phil Bryant met with President Trump in recent weeks to discuss funding state road projects. 

"If we are going to be able to access federal dollars, that will be in the Transportation Act the president's pushing forward through Congress," said Governor Bryant. "We better be prepared for our matching dollars to be there."

Governor Bryant says SB3046 would set the state up to have matching funds for federal highway projects. He also has ideas on how MDOT could save money and improve spending.

"We could look at MDOT spending on engineers or contractors," said Bryant. "What are we paying for a mile of road and bridges?" 

Commissioner Hall says the transportation bill would also take $25 million a year from the transportation budget and require a Governor's signature to purchase right away.  

"What the hell is the next Governor going to know about buying right away?" asked Hall.

Hall suggests the state increase the fuel tax -- which has been the same for 31 years -- to fund future highway and bridge construction.

SB 3046 has passed the Senate and is being debated in the House Ways and Means Committee.

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