Toll bill killed in Mississippi

| 2/9/2005

A bill in the Mississippi Senate to create tolls along some roads and bridges in the state will have to wait until next year.

The toll road legislation intended to give the state another tool to raise revenue during a tight budget year died after the Feb. 1 deadline for House and Senate committees to report out bills and constitutional amendments originating in their chambers.

The measure, offered by Sen. Charlie Ross, R-Brandon, remained in the Senate Highways and Transportation and Finance committees at the deadline.

SB2462 authorized the Mississippi Transportation Commission, county boards of supervisors and city officials to contract with private industry to construct roads and bridges and collect tolls to pay off the work.

Ross’ bill didn’t spell out specific toll charges. That would be determined by MDOT.

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

It also mandated that alternative routes be available so drivers could avoid paying the tolls.