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Source : Wikimedia Commons
April 28, 2023
Author : Alex Bustillos
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signed two bills allotting funding of more than $2 billion to the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT). He signed House Bill 1642 and Senate Bill 3120, which will have a far-reaching impact on infrastructural improvement plans throughout the state.
Mississippi's infrastructure systems are vital to the state's economic growth and quality of life. However, the state's infrastructure systems have experienced numerous unprecedented challenges in the shape of hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, and floods. After an extensive study, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) graded Mississippi's infrastructure as D+.
These two new bills are a step towards upgrading the current infrastructure for all citizens and motorists who pass through the state.
House Bill 1642 provides more than $1.4 billion for MDOT. The funds are not earmarked and are meant to allow flexibility for investments in transportation and construction projects around the state.
Senate Bill 3120 provides additional financing to MDOT to address a variety of important road, bridge, port, rail, and airport projects around Mississippi. The bill includes $450 million for capacity improvements, $100 million for the Emergency Road and Bridge Repair Fund, $30 million for a new multimodal fund (ports, airports, and rail), and $40 million in federal matching funds.
The SB 3120 will provide funding towards
In a press conference in February earlier this year, Governor Tate Reeves requested an investment from the legislature for additional capacity initiatives, which would jumpstart infrastructure plans in the state. The legislature agreed and granted a surplus of $450 million to fund existing shovel-ready projects not included in the MDOT’s three-year improvement plan.
“This major investment by the state into our roads, bridges, airports, and other critical infrastructure will help grow Mississippi’s economy and create jobs,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “I’d like to thank the legislature for answering my call to commit a major investment toward infrastructure improvement and expansion projects across the state. We’re doing what it takes to attract more businesses and jobs to Mississippi.”
Brad White, the Executive Director of the MDOT, said in a statement, “I thank the Mississippi Legislature for providing Mississippi DOT consequential funding not seen since the 1987 Highway Bill.”
This bill will give MDOT more leeway in maximizing federal funds and using taxpayer money wisely.
Due to a shortage of funds, the DOT stated that it had prioritized maintenance initiatives over significant construction projects in recent years. This additional funding will enable MDOT to address initiatives to improve safety, reduce congestion, and stimulate the economy.
He remarked, “This funding will allow for the further revival of the agency’s capacity program – meaning new construction – along with addressing other important needs. The resulting projects will improve safety, enhance mobility and boost economic growth and development across Mississippi.”