ROADS/BRIDGES: Mississippi’s infrastructure plan is DOA

April 5, 2016

The 2016 legislative session will come and go without support or discussion

According to Mississippi House Transportation Committee Chairman Charles Busby (R-Pascagoula) who was working during the past week on a broad-based plan to increase revenue for an infrastructure plan, members want to look for additional “efficiencies” in the Department of Transportation during the next year instead of voting on a tax increase.

“We couldn’t get the Republicans to support it,” said House Transportation Vice Chair Steve Massengill (R-Hickory Flat), who had made the highway and bridge improvement plan one of his top priorities for the 2016 session. The congressman was not hopeful that transportation supporters can have any more luck in the coming sessions.

“If we couldn’t get something done this year, we probably won’t be able to during the rest of the term,” he said of the upcoming three sessions. “But we will keep trying.”

There was hope of developing a massive, multi-year plan during the 2016 session, but the deadline for the House to pass a bill dealing with raising revenue for transportation is today, and clearly that won’t happen.

Rep. Robert Johnson of Natchez said House Democrats will continue to try to craft a solution to the infrastructure issue during the final weeks of the 2016 session. House Democrats have proposed a $400 million per year increase in infrastructure spending primarily by rolling back tax break given to corporations in recent years.