Roadway disrepair costly and dangerous in MS - - The News for South Mississippi

Roadway disrepair costly and dangerous in MS

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

"We're on the cusp of great economic development, but none of that will happen when you consider that 95% of the freight that's moved in this state is moved on the highways by truck," says Representative Robert Johnson of Adams County, Chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

Johnson points to crumbling bridges and patched-up city and county roads across the state to raise two issues. First, he says, Mississippi can no longer depend on Federal money to fix interstates quickly as repairs are needed. Second, he claims, the state must provide funds to local governments to fix bridges, roads, and streets.

"It impacts our schools. Children have to go 20-30 miles out of the way on a bus drive because they can't go across bridges that are deficient," he says.

At the State Capitol Monday morning, Rep. Johnson was joined by a non-profit group called "TRIP" which is compiling a report on Mississippi roadway repair issues. The group says the costs for car repairs, and lost pay from sitting in traffic, total $1.6 billion a year for Mississippi motorists.

And disrepair equals danger.

"In Mississippi the traffic fatality rate is the 5th highest in the country. Traffic fatality rates on Mississippi rural roads is double what it is on all other roads in the state," says Trip Director of Policy & Research Rocky Moretti.

The Transportation Committee met Monday to discuss what can be done in the next legislative session.

"The Federal government can't figure out what they want to do. But we're definitely gonna try to do what we can to get more state money," Johnson says.

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