JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Jackson County leaders have big plans for 2017 - the bulk of them county improvement projects focused on infrastructure.
"Nothing matters if you can't get there on a good road and if you don't have the proper infrastructure, whether its sewer, water, roads, none of the other things really matter," said newly elected Board of Supervisor President Troy Ross.
Those projects range from the just completed Yellow Jacket Road/Fort Bayou intersection to much larger projects like the roadway enhancement studies being done for the Highway 90 multi-pathway.
"We still got the Cook Road corridor connecting Tucker Road in with Sangani Blvd, which will allow the commercial growth to continue in that area. Right now you can see I-10 is being widened throughout," Ross said.
They're also looking at upgrades to Trent Lott Airport.
"The runway needs to be widened and strengthened so that bigger aircraft can land on it. It opens the doors for commercial carriers," Ross said.
And in terms of industry, they're hoping to get the first shovel planted on the LNG export facility at the Port of Pascagoula.
"That would be the largest capital project in Mississippi history," Ross said.
Economic development is also high on the priority list. County leaders have completed a booklet to send to Jackson with 25 countywide projects they'd like funded by BP settlement money.
"We've made it as simple as possible, right at your fingertips," said Ross. "And they're shovel-ready projects."
Ross said the biggest challenge moving forward boils down to funding.
"We need to keep our budget as tight as possible. We don't ever want to overspend so that our recurring costs get so high we can't do any of these capital projects," Ross said.
Ross said as long as they can stay within budget, it'll be an exciting time for the county.