Report To The People

Bridge Rehabilitation Addressed By House

By Tommy Reynolds

The House has approved a jointly agreed version of House Bill 1722, which would provide funding for rural fire truck acquisition, local bridge replacement and repair, and for many other purposes. Under House Bill 1722, $20,000,000 is set aside next year for local system bridge replacement and rehabilitation.     

In the past several years, The Local System Bridge Replacement Program has provided millions of dollars to replace numerous bridges in Tallahatchie, Yalobusha, and Lafayette Counties. Under the Program, bridges must have less than a 50% sufficiency rating to qualify for bridge replacement funding. The cost of replacing these deficient bridges would be prohibitive to our rural and small town residents without state help.

I have strongly supported this Program since its beginning and I am glad that the counties I represent should receive several hundred thousand dollars in the next fiscal year for bridge replacement and repair from this measure.

Under the Bill, additional money of 3.9 million dollars is provided to assist counties to obtain additional rural fire trucks. Another round of fire truck funding has been provided to allow up to $70,000 each to be received by counties to obtain an additional fire truck to serve rural and small town residents. This is the ninth round of fire truck assistance to Mississippi counties. The previous eight rounds of the Rural Fire Truck Acquisition Program has helped to obtain eight new fire trucks each for Yalobusha, Tallahatchie, and Lafayette counties. The Bill provides assistance as well to community and junior colleges and our state’s universities. These funds can be used to repair buildings and equipment.

Under the Bill $5,000,000 is allocated for small municipalities which can be used for their infrastructure needs. This is a competitive program and each municipality in Tallahatchie and Yalobusha counties can make application under the program for assistance.

This week the House and Senate will likely recess or adjourn for thirty days or more so that information as to how much Federal “Stimulus” money will be available for the state’s budget for the next fiscal year which begins on July 1 and how much will be available when the remainder of next year’s budget decisions are made.

If I can be of any assistance to you, please call on me. My phone number in Jackson, during the session is (601) 359-3369. The phone number in my Charleston office is (662) 647-3203. I can also be contacted by writing to P. O. Drawer 220, Charleston, MS 38921.

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