Proposal: Use part of oil spill money for transportation

Mississippi is scheduled to receive $150 million the first year of the settlement, and Smith’s plan would put $50 million of that into a fund to help repay bonds for projects such as highway and bridge repairs.

House Bill 1386 passed the House 101-20 on Tuesday and moves to the Senate, where Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves opposes it.

“Some in the Legislature cannot resist their insatiable appetite to borrow and spend — in this instance borrowing against future revenue and spending money that we have not even yet received,” Reeves said last week. “I will continue to fight to spend the vast majority of this BP money in south Mississippi, and I feel certain that coast legislators, both in the House and Senate, will join me in this effort.”…

…During debate Tuesday, House Transportation Committee Chairman Charles Busby, R-Pascagoula, tried to reserve the oil spill settlement money for transportation projects in the three coastal counties. He said that would make other, unspecified sources of money available for highways and bridges elsewhere.

“The net impact of this is not harmful to the rest of the state,” Busby said.