‘Half a million doesn’t hurt,’ State provides $500K toward lighting of bridges

Published 8:30 am Friday, April 8, 2022

NATCHEZ — The state legislature has appropriated $500,000 to help with lighting the Natchez-Vidalia bridges.

“We still have a long way to go to get to $6 million, but a half a million doesn’t hurt,” said Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson.

Gibson said city officials had been holding back pushing the bridge lighting project with our state and federal representatives until they were certain that the $2.4 million would come through for the rehabilitation of Morgantown Road.

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“Once we were sure we had that money from the federal government, we started approaching our representatives in Jackson — not only our House and Senate representatives, but also state leaders,” Gibson said.

He credited Manning McPhillips with the city’s lobbyist group for working the project at the state level. And he thanked Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, who he said is trying to secure funds from Louisiana to help pay for its portion of the project. Louisiana has yet to commit state funds to the project.

“We communicated directly with Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and Speaker Phillip Gunn. Sen. Kelvin Butler made a personal appeal on behalf to the lieutenant governor and state Rep. Robert Johnson did the same with Speaker Gunn,” Gibson said.

“Now that we have the appropriate of $500,000, that allows us to make a pitch to the federal government for the $2 million from them. It’s a $6 million project — $3 million per bridge. Maybe we will need to get half of that amount one year and the other half another year. These things take time,” Gibson said.