At the federal level, the Obama administration is also openly talking about changing the way federal highway funds get to local governments. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says he wants to find a way for cities to get federal transportation funds directly rather than passed to them by the states.
In Mississippi, where we still elect transportation commissioners, such public policy would represent a sea change.
While the politics of “tax hike, no tax hike” remains, the unintended consequences of ignoring deteriorating roads and bridges in the state will soon begin to manifest itself in economic development pursuits. That fact is the strongest card held by proponents of the MEC’s road and bridge finance plan.
But raising taxes — any taxes for any purpose — remains a tough political sell in Mississippi’s present political climate.