Mississippi bills would put more money to roads, troopers

| Thursday, January 20, 2011

Coming up with revenue sources to pay for road work and more state troopers in Mississippi is the theme of multiple House bills introduced this month at the statehouse.

Dick Hall, the transportation commissioner for the central district, has called for state leaders to consider boosting the state?s fuel tax to generate additional revenue for highway construction and maintenance.

One bill would make that happen. HB134 calls for the state?s fuel tax rate to be raised by 5 cents to benefit state, county and city roadways.

Rep. John Mayo, D-Clarksdale, wants to increase the state?s 18.4-cent-per-gallon tax on gas and diesel to 23.4 cents. The state charges 0.4 cents at the pump for a clean-up fee.

Dubbed the ?Save Our Roads Act,? the bill would route 25 percent of the added revenue to local projects. The State Highway Fund would get 75 percent, which must be applied for work on roads and bridges.

During his ?State of the State? address Gov. Haley Barbour called for additional state troopers on the roads. Rep. D. Stephen Holland, D-Plantersville, has introduced a bill that would help make that happen.

The bill ? HB445 ? would provide a one-time funding boost for the Highway Patrol. Money needed for a state trooper training class would come from a $5 increase in motor vehicle inspection fees.

Rep. David Gibbs, D-West Point, wants to divert $3 million a year to provide a boost for local roads and bridges throughout the state. His bill ? HB323 ? would tap gaming license fees for the extra money.

One more bill would set up rural transportation planning organizations. Rep. John Hines, Sr., D-Greenville, has introduced a bill ? HB436 ? that would authorize the Mississippi Department of Transportation to set up organizations to plan rural transportation systems.

The bills are all in House committees.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Mississippi, click here.

Editor?s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the legislation included in this story. Comments may be sent to statelegislativedesk@ooida.com.

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