Mississippi Senate passes bill to use tolls as new revenue source

| Friday, February 10, 2006

The Mississippi Senate unanimously endorsed a bill Tuesday, Feb. 7, that would create tolls along some roads and bridges in the state, giving the state another tool to raise revenue.

The bill now heads to the House where similar efforts have failed in the past.

The latest effort, sponsored by Sen. Charlie Ross, R-Brandon, authorizes 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.

The bill – SB2171 – doesn’t spell out specific toll charges. That would be determined by MDOT.

Ross’ effort would require 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 a project were paid off, that toll would be removed.

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