Budget cuts didn’t help fix roads

Published 12:37 am Friday, November 4, 2016

Mississippi’s leadership needs to be forced to ride in the back of an old, antique pickup truck on the way to Jackson next year.

Perhaps then, the need for investment in state infrastructure would be driven home, one gnarly back-road bump at a time.

During the last session of the Mississippi Legislature, lawmakers failed to address the enormous elephant in the backseat — Mississippi’s aging roads and bridges.

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The Mississippi Economic Council suggested raising an additional $375 million in revenue to pour into transportation infrastructure needs. The revenue would presumably have come from higher gasoline taxes or taxes on vehicle license plates.

Lawmakers had none of that, however.

All they wanted to do was slash the budget and go home.

The result is — to no one’s surprise — the roads and bridges that were bad last year will only be worse this year when lawmakers reconvene in January.

Mississippi Department of Transportation officials say they need an additional $526 million to stop the state’s transportation system from deteriorating further.

Simply cutting the budget — which seems the only plan lawmakers had last year — didn’t accomplish much.

Perhaps our idea of jarring some common sense into lawmakers with a rough-riding pickup on a bumpy road may do some good.