Better roads, higher gas tax

In remarks at a Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership committee meeting on Friday, Hall rattled off status updates for a dozen or so ongoing projects before taking a detour that turned into something of a call to arms.

Politically, he said, “we’re not ready. We need to be moving on toward a new program, but it’s going to take the business community just like it did in ’87 to realize the importance of this and take a leadership role.

“Let me remind everybody, we did that in ’87 in a re-election year over a gubernatorial veto and passed it by one vote,” said Hall, a Republican and then a member of the Legislature. “My vote.”

Today, Mississippi’s 18.4-cent-per-gallon tax is worth far less than it was then.

Inflation has ratcheted up construction costs, Hall said.

And better fuel economy is already taking a toll on the state’s road funding. While total vehicle miles rose for much of the decade, revenues have leveled off or declined.

Clarion Ledger
7/28/12