State Bond Commission Approves Raising Money to Fix Bridges
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Mark Rigsby - MPB News

The state is giving the go-ahead to raise millions of dollars with bonds that are earmarked to fix unsafe bridges. MPB's Mark Rigsby reports.

$25,000,000. That's the amount approved unanimously this week by the state Bond Commission to repair and replace bridges that are hazardous to the motoring public. Governor Phil Bryant, Attorney General Jim Hood, and State Treasurer Lynn Fitch are on the commission board. Fitch says the legislature must come up with a comprehensive, long-term solution, but the board was able to do something immediately.

"You have to remember, infrastructure is the life blood of the economy. It speaks to our economic growth, as well as our quality of life. We just can't afford to take action quickly."

Governor Bryant recently declared a state of emergency for more than 100 dilapidated bridges in Mississippi, under pressure from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Hood says lawmakers had a chance to do more to fund roads and bridges this year.

"You know, the legislature has ducked their duty. They have not fixed our roads. The votes were over there. That's what's so odd about it. Republicans and Democrats wanted a road bill. Put 10 cents on fuel and spread it around. There's support over there to pass that. It's just leadership choking it off simply to be able to say that I didn't raise anybody's taxes. That's just politics."

The amount approved is half of the $50,000,000 in bonds state lawmakers approved during the past legislative session. Hood says the other $25,000,000 will be approved by the bond commission later this year.