Brown: ‘We aren’t broke’ but have cash problem

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 18, 2000

Southern&160;Transportation Commissioner Wayne Brown said Monday it is a misconception to say MDOT is out of money.

&uot;We are not broke, but we do have a cash flow problem,&uot; said Brown, of the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT).

In recent weeks, media stories have touted MDOT’s lack of funding.

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Brown, who spoke to the Adams&160;County Supervisors Monday, has been speaking to boards within his entire district recently.

The purpose of the visits is to receive public input, to give updates on ongoing road projects and speak about the department’s finances, he said.

While speaking to the board Monday, Brown told the supervisors MDOT receives roughly $2 million daily for its projects.

But the problem with funding developed because of an increase in gas prices which forced the cost of some projects up as much as 10 percent, he said.

This year’s good weather has allowed contractors to work faster, adding to the cash flow problem, he said.

Brown said with the formation of a development bank, MDOT will now have some authority to borrow money on a short-term basis to help in these types of situations.

In area road projects, Brown said the state plans to award bids next year to expand a section of U.S. 61 South, from Wilkinson County to the Louisiana state line, into four lanes.

The county is working with MDOT to move utilities in that area so the road can be built, Brown said. MDOT also will take bids this month to expand U.S. 61 North from the Adams County line north about seven miles into four-lanes.

Work on the project will begin next year and it will take three to four years to complete, Brown said.

In another road project, the section of U.S. 84 in Franklin Company should be open by next summer, Brown said.

Brown said he is visiting the counties in his district to talk about MDOT’s ongoing projects and to gather information.

Supervisor Lynwood Easterling asked if MDOT could consider moving the truck scales at U.S. 61 North and Lynda Lee Drive in Natchez.

Easterling said the scales cause traffic congestion as trucks wait in line to be weighed.

&uot;It’s an outdated weigh scale and the location is terrible,&uot; Easterling said.

Janet Sullivan of MDOT said officials have discussed the scales but only as a project that could be as many as 10 years away.