Mississippi to boost stalled road projects

| Monday, July 25, 2005

Local governments in Mississippi could pitch in to speed up stalled highway construction projects under a program offered by the state’s Transportation Department.

The program authorizes towns to issue bonds for highway projects. MDOT would be responsible for repaying the 20-year bond issue – or loan.

The highway department delayed construction projects when state lawmakers reduced its funding, MDOT Executive Director Butch Brown told The Clarion-Ledger. The agency has seen about $300 million in highway funds sent to other state agencies and programs since 2002.

The bonding program also fixes project costs.

The Legislature gave MDOT the authority to start the program, Brown told the newspaper.

Brown said the Federal Highway Administration would pay the agency back for at least 80 percent of the debt on federal highway work.

After the work is finished, the federal government would reimburse 90 percent of the state’s upkeep costs.

MDOT has about $600 million in roadwork scheduled under the program, The Clarion-Ledger reported.

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