Hopefully Gov. Bryant has plan before Legislature convenes this week

Published 7:01 pm Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Thursday, the Legislature returns to the capitol to discuss funding for transportation, and Vicksburg officials are hoping to get some money for two city projects, the Mississippi Hardware building renovations and a feasibility study for a new port.

And while Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said Monday there seems to be a “general agreement” that any package of legislation should include transferring some taxes on Internet sales to cities and counties, and he’s ready to use money from sports betting and creating a state lottery to increase spending for the state Department of Transportation, there still seems to be some confusion over the call.

State Sen. Briggs Hopson III, R-Vicksburg said he has not seen Gov. Phil Bryant’s formal call for the session.

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“I think his announcement was giving us a rough idea that this was going to be about roads and bridges and infrastructure repair and looking at funding sources to make those improvements, but I have not seen the details or limitations in the call, and I’m not sure he’s put out the official call,” Hopson said Monday.

“I don’t know if there will be some other items in there that will include additional use of bonds or other revenue,” he said. “I have heard a good possibility that the funds from the BP oil spill settlement may be utilized for this and there may be some other bond funds, but I need to see exactly what’s on the table first so I’ll know what projects are available to discuss.”

And while Dist. 54 Rep. Kevin Ford says he’s in favor of some of the House leadership’s ideas, “Until we see what the governor calls in this special session and what the bill is, I won’t know anything until I see it.”

Dist. 55 Rep. Oscar Denton said he is not sure what’s in the call.

While the governor should be commended for being concerned enough about the condition of the state’s and local community’s infrastructure needs, one would think he would have a definite plan in place before bringing the Legislature back in session with the members looking at a jigsaw puzzle of different suggestions, plans and wishes.

Hopefully, the governor has such a plan ready and will deliver it to the House and Senate Thursday. Our infrastructure needs are serious and need serious remedies, not games.