AP analysis: Efforts to raise money for Mississippi road repairs needs business support

It’s not like 1987, at least not yet.

Efforts to raise money to repair and build highways just don’t have the broad push that lifted a major highway program to passage in the Legislature a generation ago.

Leaders of the Mississippi Department of Transportation and their allies in the Legislature continue to make the case that they need hundreds of millions of dollars per year to repave roads and fix bridges, as well as keep building new ones.

But they don’t seem to gaining much traction with the broader business and civic leadership in the state. In fact, some of the business groups that are part of a Senate study panel led by Sen. Willie Simmons, D-Cleveland, are among those fighting increased taxes the most. They’ve repeatedly said that they suspect MDOT is deeply inefficient and they don’t want to pour any more money down a rat hole without outside assurance that it won’t be wasted.