IGEOFF PENDER: Realpolitik: Partial road funding is now up to Reeves

Put all the talk of an “impartial study” and “two policy lanes running in the same direction” aside.

Here’s the bottom-line, realpolitik on funding to fix Mississippi’s crumbling roads and bridges: If lawmakers don’t pass the internet sales tax bill with money earmarked for roadwork this year, they’re not going to do anything significant about roads and bridges before 2020.

And another bit of political pragmatism: If Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves doesn’t warm up to the internet sales tax bill — and he’s got a lot of 2019 politics to weigh on the issue — nothing will happen.

Lawmakers are not going to pass a gasoline tax increase before 2020. They’re not going to pass any sort of “indexed” tax for roads. They’re not going to magically find hundreds of millions of dollars in fat they can trim and redirect at MDOT or elsewhere.

Clarion Ledger
2/18/17