Expect a big announcement from the Governor later this week.
For weeks, Governor Bryant has spoken about the possibility of a special session focused on Mississippi’s roads and bridges, and now it appears that he’s ready to make it official. Yesterday, the Governor stated that he will likely make the declaration later this week.
“I’ll be announcing, more than likely on Thursday, the dates of that special session and some more details about it, but we are very close,” he said.
While there are final details that need to be ironed out, the Governor said that a $225 million annual package will be added to the existing funding for the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
“We are very close. I can tell you that the leadership of the House and the Senate and their staffs have been working on a daily basis,” Governor Bryant said. “There are a lot of moving parts to this, and we want to make sure we get in there, get it done, and get out.”
In recent months, hundreds of bridges across the state were closed as a part of a ‘state of emergency’ while road conditions in local areas and on state highways have continued to be a topic of conversation for years.
As for how the funds will be created, he stated that lawmakers must continue to have discussions on potential revenue streams for the state, such as a lottery.
“Are people now ready to look at funding sources like a lottery, like a use-tax, like sports betting? For at least the first five years, can we dedicate [sports betting revenue] to infrastructure? There will be challenges, but we’ve never anything this challenging easily, so I expect some strong debate,” the Governor said.
During the 2018 session, infrastructure bills were introduced, but negotiations continued to break down between the two chambers.