JACKSON, MS (AP) - Mississippi lawmakers are nearing final approval of a bill that would use $36 million a year in casino taxes mainly to rebuild deficient bridges on state highways.
That revenue stream has been used for road projects to improve access to casinos. But with those projects completed and bonds mostly paid off, the money in recent years has been flowing to the state Department of Transportation to spend as it wants.
Casino and other business interests hoped to divert $7 million a year for tourism projects and marketing. But the bill sets aside only $7.5 million in one-time money for such purposes.
The bill authorizes $200 million for bridge repairs, lower than the $400 million proposed earlier. The $36 million a year in revenue would repay about $400 million in borrowing.