Some Mississippi bridges are now closed after failing federal inspections. As MPB's Alexis Ware reports, commerce and resident drivers could pay more at the pump to accommodate the closings.
Bridge closings are forcing some Mississippians to find alternate driving routes. Media reports have highlighted closings in Washington, Adams and Oktibbeha Counties. Some bridges remain open but have been given new, lower weight limits. The changes could lead to extended drive time for some drivers, causing increased gas usage.
Scott Waller is the Interim President and CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council.
"If it's a bridge that's located in an area that has a lot of commerce crossing it of course it's going to be more expensive for people to do business because they have to find an alternative route. If it's a bridge that primarily carries local traffic of people going to and from home or to and from work then it has an impact on them because they have to find a way to get there. It one takes longer and two typically would cost more money."
More than four thousand bridges need repair across the state. Waller says the state needs more than 350 million dollars annually for the next ten years to fully repair the bridges.
Democratic Senator Willie Simmons says increasing fuel tax could help raise the needed money.
"If we put an additional six cents a gallon it would take us from 18 to approximately 24 cents a gallon we could raise approximately 155 million dollars a year to do that."
Simmons says the fuel tax increase would cost each Mississippian about 60 dollars a year.