Leaders can’t agree on road problems, much less solution

“… The political reality is we are not going to pass a $375 million-a-year tax increase until Jesus comes home,” Gipson said. “So we need to start to think, what can we realistically do, and where do we focus? I think local should be the priority.”

Gipson said the MEC plan, if passed, would have provided cities only about $125,000 each, “maybe enough to patch a few potholes?” Gipson said he opposes any tax increase but would like to look at the amount of the current gas tax diverted to state-aid road work for counties and examine MDOT’s budget for money that could be shifted.

Byrd said that in MEC presentations on road needs, they list MDOT state roads in “lane miles” at 30,000 and local roads in “roadway miles” at 25,000. He said listing local roads in the same terms as state would put them at 50,000 miles.

On his new “Mississippi Responsible Journalism Initiative” Facebook page, Gipson has penned posts about the issue. He wrote: “The facts don’t point to a ‘crumbling state bridge problem.’ They point to a local problem at the county and municipal level.”

But Central District Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall, himself a longtime former lawmaker, said legislative debate over needs between state and local infrastructure is deflection, lawmakers wanting to sidestep a clear and present statewide issue.

Clarion Ledger