UPDATE: Leaders work through differences on funding for infrastructure

State

Help is on the way for Mississippi roads and bridges.

The House voted to send the amended Infrastructure Modernization Act to the Governor by a vote of 109 to 4.

“This bill is a great step towards helping our cities and towns to improve infrastructure-we had to close over 100 bridges around the state under emergency because they were deficient so this goes a long way towards correcting that,” said Rep. Kathy Sykes

Democratic leaders added, this is just the beginning, they want funds designated to keep on top of upgrades in the future.

UPDATE: 12:20

Mississippi House passed Infrastructure Modernization Act. Agrees on changes. Bill heads to the Governor’s Desk.

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Lawmakers are working to construct a way to pay for critically needed road and bridge repairs in Mississippi.

It is the third day of a special session called to come up with $200 million a year to finance a $1.1 Billion construction package.

Funding solutions include settlement monies from the BP oil spill lawsuit, a state lottery, taxes on hybrid cars and an internet sales tax just to name a few of the funding vehicles mentioned.

The Governor closed bridges statewide in the spring which did not meet federal safety standards. Political leaders risk losing vital federal dollars if they cannot come up with a compromise.

Today, Speaker Philip Gunn says he’s working with the Senate leadership to get legislation passed. But Democratic leaders say they’ve been left in the dark. House minority leader, David Baria explains.

“They’re not in communication with me at all. I think that’s probably true of alot of rank and file members who reported this morning, not knowing what’s happened over the weekend or whether we are going to be here for two hours or twenty-four hours.”

I spoke to a few lawmakers with concern concerning how long they will be in session. This was originally supposed to be a two day session. But funding coming from the the BP lawsuit settlement could drive lawmakers to stay in the Capitol to debate and determine if and how those monies should be spent for infrastructure needs.

 

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