The Highways and Transportation Committee hears 6 speakers on the state of Mississippi infrastructure.
Today, the Mississippi Senate Highway and Transportation Committee met to discuss critical infrastructure needs in Mississippi. The senators gathered information from a group of speakers on the state of infrastructure in Mississippi, particularly regarding bridges and roads.
This meeting comes days after the United States House approved President Joe Biden’s $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure shopping package.
In a statement on Saturday, Mississippi Democratic Party President Tyree Irving said the state of Mississippi should receive $ 3.3 billion to improve highways and $ 225 million for bridge replacement and repairs over five years.
Every speaker the Senate Highways and Transportation Committee heard on Tuesday discussed the critical needs and challenges that come with tackling Mississippi’s bridges, roads, and highways.
- Derrick Surrette, Executive Director of the Association of Mississippi Supervisors
- Jacob Forrester, PE, Assistant General Manager Starkville Utilities, Advocacy Captain, Mississippi Section of ASCE, State Engineers Association
- Harry Lee James, Mississippi State Aid Engineer State Aid Office for Road Construction
- Brad White, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation
- Frank Howell, CEO of the Delta Council
- Mike McCormick, President of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation
In a 2020 report conducted by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Forrester presented that the Mississippi infrastructure received a D + score on an AF letter scale. Both bridges and roads in D-Mississippi.
Almost 40% of the main urban road kilometers in Mississippi they are in poor condition, double the national rate.
Surrett, with the Mississippi Supervisors Association, explained that county governments have approximately 52,000 road miles that they must maintain. He noted a survey conducted a couple of years ago in which they found that 76% of those road miles need some time for maintenance and improvement, while 46% of those roads are in need of repair.
Although this report was conducted years earlier, Surrett said the numbers haven’t changed significantly. In his presentation, he said that of the 52,000 miles that counties maintain, it costs $ 100,000 per mile to overlap a road and that is maintenance only. For 46% of the roads in need of repair, it would cost the counties $ 250,000 per mile.
Executive Director White of the Mississippi Department of Transportation acknowledged the money that came to the state with President Biden’s infrastructure spending package. He said it’s important for the Department to work closely with the Mississippi legislature so that when the money is allocated, taxpayers will get the most out of it.