/Update Transportation special session expected to be announced Friday

Update Transportation special session expected to be announced Friday

Jackson will be the next stop for legislators, who are expected to return to Jackson on Aug. 23-24 to review proposals, including possibly the enactment a lottery to address what many agree is a failing state infrastructure system. Officials confirmed that Gov. Officials said Gov. Phil Bryant will announce the special session on Thursday. Since at least 2014, lawmakers have struggled to find funds to address transportation needs at both the local and state levels. Even though the governor calls the special sessions, it’s not clear that there has been agreement between the House and Senate leaders on transportation proposals. Bryant, a Republican second term, has never called special sessions unless there is agreement between the House leaders and the Senate on the topic. Bryant has previously spoken out in favor of creating a lottery that would allow the revenue to go towards transportation. Mississippi is one of six states without a lottery. He has also proposed a diverting use tax from internet sales (7%) and diverting revenue from betting to transportation. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this year that states have the right to collect internet sales use tax and allow sports betting. Mississippi casinos are already offering sports betting. According to estimates, the Mississippi Department of Transportation will need an additional $400 million annually to meet its state needs. Locally, about 500 bridges have been closed by counties to ensure safety. According to estimates, the lottery and diversions could generate $150 million annually in transportation spending. Legislative leaders are refusing to increase the 18.4-cent per gallon motor vehicle fuel tax in the state, which is one the lowest in the country.