D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - Sen. Roger Wicker's tour of D'Iberville Monday began with quick stops at the police and fire departments to visit the rank and file officers. It continued with a look around the still empty areas of the city's waterfront, homes and businesses washed away by Katrina and not rebuilt.
But the focus quickly changed once the tour came upon the retail heart of the city, the shopping Mecca known as the Promenade and all the retailers along Sangani Blvd. Growth is good, but it also presents challenges.
Traffic sometimes comes to a crawl, especially on busy weekends. The city wants to spend $180,000 on traffic flow improvements, like another exit off I-10, a flyover bridge over the interstate, and widening several roads.
And that's why the senator came along for the ride, according to city manager Michael Janus.
"In my mind, he was able to see first and foremost the transportation issues we have," Janus said. "Certainly with his position on appropriations, we hope that he'll be able to use his political clout, if you will, to draw down some federal funds. Because, realistically, with a $180 million bill for transportation, it's going to take federal funds to make these projects happen."
Even though D'Iberville city officials are hoping for a little extra help from Washington, Senator Wicker said not so fast.
"We have to balance these needs with the problem that we have in Washington D.C. and that's a $13 trillion debt and $4 trillion added in three short fiscal years," Wicker said. "So the reality is we have to try to be innovative and to do this within existing appropriations."
But even if funding doesn't happen immediately, Mayor Rusty Quave feels the tour was a success.
"It's good to bring guys in those positions out so they can see it hands on," Quave said.
Senator Wicker has spent the past few days on the coast attending several events marking the fifth anniversary of Katrina. Tuesday, he heads to Waveland.