/Transportation bill heads to governor; see what’s in it for your county

Transportation bill heads to governor; see what’s in it for your county

The 2017 session of the state House saw the creation of the proposal. It was part the governor’s special session to address infrastructure issues at both the state and local levels. The state House continues to work on a lottery proposal to raise funds for transportation. The infrastructure legislation passed both chambers with overwhelming margins and is expected to be signed into law by the governor. Monday’s vote by the House was 111-4. It voted to approve the Senate amendments and to send the bill to the governor. Philip Gunn (R-Clinton), House Speaker, said that “Passage is historic.” The bill will provide “a continuous stream of revenue for cities, counties from now on,” he said. This ongoing stream comes from the diversion from the use tax. The bill will generate $120 million annually for infrastructure projects in cities and counties when it is fully enacted within four years. The bill transfers 35 percent of the state’s use tax revenue, a 7. percent tax on items purchased outside of the state via the internet, from the state to local governments. The state’s money for education and other services will be lessened by this bill. The diversion will begin in January for the first payments to cities and counties. The diversion will be gradually implemented over four years, with local governments receiving one-fourth each year. The bill also proposes the issuing of $300 million in bonds. This debt will be paid off with a portion the casino gambling tax currently allocated for transportation. 250 million of that revenue will be used to fund emergency transportation needs at the local and state levels. This was determined by the Mississippi Transportation Commission. The remaining $50 million will go to projects, as decided by the Legislature. The House approved a key Senate amendment that would have created a commission that would include representatives from city and county governments and the Mississippi Economic Council. This commission would make recommendations to the Transportation Commission regarding how bond revenue should be spent. The bill also redirects sports betting, which is estimated to cost between $5 million and $15 million per year, to transportation. The governor called the special session, which began on Thursday after the closure of approximately 500 county bridges in recent months due to safety concerns.