Will the money stay with MDOT? Legislators work on funding bill

Will the money stay with MDOT? Legislators work on funding bill
Source: WDAM.

PINE BELT (WDAM) - Funding to fix Mississippi's roads and bridges is still up for debate as lawmaker continue to figure out Senate Bill 3046, the so-called 'Bridge Act,' at the capitol.

This weekend, lawmakers from the House and Senate meet to work out details. Mississippi Department of Transportation Commissioner Tom King, with the Southern District, is hoping they come out with a bill to benefit the department.

"It's all about safety," said King. "We've got bridges that need to be worked on, we've got rutting in many of our roads. These roads and highways need maintenance work."

Senate Bill 3046 proposed taking $25-million from MDOT's budget, over five years, and moving it to the state. The bill would also give the Governor the power to decide where the funding for projects should go.

"To me, it will delay a lot of projects," said King. "Right now, we don't have the money to take care of what we have, much less anything new."

SB3046 passed in the Senate, but representatives struck down the bill in the House. That means the $25-million is safe, for now, with MDOT.

King said this weekend, lawmakers will debate the bill in "conference weekend." Three representatives and three senators will go over the bill and decide the next step, with possible adjustments.

The debate over future funding won't have an impact on the bridge project underway in Forrest County. King said that project is on track, but that may be the case for future projects.

"We're doing the best we can with what we have and prioritizing each bridge and each road through safety," said King.