BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Strong reaction continues to a plan by some state lawmakers to divert $50 million in BP recovery money to fund statewide transportation improvements. That amounts to more than 33 percent of the first installment from BP, which totals $150 million.
"I think it's a shame," says Harrison County Board of Supervisors President Beverly Martin.
The county board passed a resolution supporting the idea that 80 percent of that BP money would be spent on the coast, which bore the brunt of the oil spill damage.
"That's more than fair," said Martin, who notes that some have pushed for spending 100 percent of that recovery money on the coast.
Biloxi Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich was disappointed but not surprised that the House passed the bill setting aside that $50 million for roads and bridges. He believes part of the equation is the fact lawmakers might have to raise the gas tax to generate road money. Securing the BP money would avoid an unpopular tax hike.
Still, the mayor is encouraged by the fact that bill faces a more uncertain outcome in the Senate, with Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves opposing it.
"There's still a lot of horse trading to be done," said Mayor Gilich. "We just need to be certain we wind up with some horses at the end of the day."