Mississippi bill would use tolls as new revenue source

| 1/25/2005

A Mississippi state lawmaker is pushing legislation that would create tolls along some roads and bridges in the state to give the state another tool to raise revenue during a tight budget year.

Similar proposals passed the Mississippi Senate each of the past two years, but both died in the House.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Charlie Ross, R-Brandon, authorizes the Mississippi Transportation Commission, county boards of supervisors and city officials to contract with private businesses to construct roads and bridges and collect tolls to pay off the work.

SB2462 doesn’t spell out specific toll charges. That would be determined by MDOT.

The proposal requires 20 percent of a county’s electorate or 1,500 voters, whichever is less, to call for a referendum on any project.

It also mandates that alternative routes be available so drivers can avoid paying the tolls. Once the bonds for the project are paid off, the toll would be removed.

Ross’ bill is in the Senate Highways and Transportation and Finance committees.