Transportation Commissioner King says MDOT needs more funding - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Transportation Commissioner King says MDOT needs more funding

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

Southern District Transportation Commissioner Tom King said Thursday that the state's roads and bridges are "in a crisis," and he said more funding is needed to keep the transportation system safe.

King hosted a news conference at the District 6 Headquarters in Hattiesburg.

It was one of three held across the state by all three transportation commissioners.

King said Mississippi has many unfunded highway projects and said rising construction costs have forced the Mississippi Department of Transportation to shift to a "maintenance only" approach in dealing with the transportation system.

King said he supports raising the fuel tax to help with funding needs.

"It's the quickest and the fastest way to do that," said King. "It hasn't been raised since 1987 and we're looking at 30 years already, so It's past due. We need to address this issue and if it takes a fuel tax, yes I'm for it."

According to King, MDOT needs another $400 million a year in state funding. 

"Keep in mind, 53-55 percent of the monies we have now comes from the federal government, so the rest of it comes from the State. We're saying we need $400 million, $3.2 billion in an eight-year period, we'd have two phases to address those issues."    

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