State leader honored for effort in repair project along Longleaf Trace

A state senator is being honored for his efforts in getting funds allocated for repairs along Longleaf Trace.
Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 7:50 PM CST
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SUMRALL, Miss. (WDAM) - A state senator is being honored for his efforts in getting funds allocated for repairs along Longleaf Trace.

Seven bridges across the Longleaf Trace received deficiency repairs.

Now, the Pearl and Leaf Rivers ‘Rails to Trails’ recreational district is honoring one of our state leaders for his effort in the project, by dedicating a bridge to him.

“You didn’t see any taxpayer’s money go here,” said ‘Rails to Trails’ Vice President Dale Lucas. “He was able to get us the amount of money that we needed to successfully go in and redo these bridges.”

“It’s a huge asset to the Pine Belt, and I’m so proud of it,” said Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-District 41. “And to have a small part in that is just quite the honor.”

We’re told Fillingane advocated for the area to receive funds from the BP Oil Spill settlement.

“That money could not be procured, that much money, unless we had someone in the senate with the influence and ability to get that earmarked and appropriated to this project...,” said 15th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Tony Mozingo.

This means the $500,000 spent didn’t come at a cost to citizens.

“So those $500,000 were not state tax dollars. Those were BP Settlement Funds designated from the lawsuit for the State of Mississippi, and this is a wonderful use for those dollars,” Fillingane said.

Fillingane says he’s overwhelmed by the support of the ‘Rails to Trails’ board.

“To have the board come forward and say, you know, ‘In recognition of the work you’ve done to secure funds through the legislature for upgrades, changings of the underpinnings of the bridges and the relays of the surface...,’ it’s just quite an honor,” Fillingane said.

The trace is more than 20-years-old, and the bridges are original to the railroad line, meaning they were due for an upgrade.

“We had to shut bridges down,” Lucas said. “We could not put equipment across them. We couldn’t, we were having to take our tractors and stuff all the way around because the bridges, they’d been here a long time and they needed this work.”

The ‘Joey Fillingane Bridge’ is located along the trace at the Mill Creek Bridge in Sumrall.

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