Task force tries to clear highway funding hurdles - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Task force tries to clear highway funding hurdles

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Mississippi is trying to drive up business, but the bumpy highways could be a deal breaker.

"We're in a global marketplace. We have to understand not just how we move people across town but how we move goods and services across the world today," said Executive Director of the Mississippi Manufacturing Association Jay Moon.

Thursday the Senate task force will break down the numbers for highway funding options. The first of those includes a gas tax hike, but the public, like the legislature in the past, doesn't want to see the taxes at the pump rise.

Committee co-chair Senator Joey Fillingane says there's still a long road to a solution.

"I think the devil in the detail will be who's going to pay for this and how much. Again, in all the testimony this afternoon, I didn't hear a single group or person say please tax me more to pay for these improvements," Fillingane said.

The Mississippi Association of Supervisors says the majority of the roads and bridges are in rural parts of the state. Yet counties get only a small percentage of the gas tax, 23 percent. So, they rely on property tax to help maintain bridges and roads and it's not enough.

"It's time for us to think about a new formula, a new taxing revenue or property taxes will have to go up," said Derrick Surrette, Executive Director for the Mississippi Association of Supervisors.

The funding options from the task force will not rely solely on gas tax hikes.

"We're going to look at a combination of things and we're going to try and spread it out so that no particular segment would be impacted overbearingly," explained Senator Willie Simmons, task force co-chairman.

The committee will submit their recommendation to the legislature next session.

Copyright 2013 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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