By Tommy Reynolds
In April, I shared with you the late night Legislative fight that resulted in an increase in funding for our State Aid roads and bridges to be provided to our counties for the fiscal year that began on July 1. That day has come, and we are now preparing to receive approximately $1 million in additional State Aid road appropriation funding for the counties of District 33 for the current fiscal year.
For Yalobusha County, that means an increase of $294,400 toward repairing, maintaining, and constructing our State Aid roads.
While I recognize that this appropriation does not address fully the needs of our county State Aid road and bridge maintenance requirements, I am proud to have helped secure these funds. In my mind, any amount is better than nothing, and we fought hard to secure this measure of help for our people.
You may remember that my colleagues and I took a strong stand during the regular 2014 session by defeating the Mississippi Department of Transpor-tation and State Aid Road Construction appropriation bills because they did not provide enough help to our rural and small town areas of the state. Our action forced the Governor to call a special session within the session to make sure that the programs received funding for Fiscal Year 2015.
After we made our point, we were given opportunity to vote on more equitable versions of the bills during the called special session, which took about an hour on that last evening.
I was very proud of my colleagues as we stood united on behalf of our rural and small town areas. Our action resulted in an expanded State Aid appropriation by $32 million additional funds to include much-needed road repairs all across Mississippi. The money was contingent on the funds being received by the State General Fund tax collections and receipt of collection of these funds have now been verified.
The State Aid Road program was started in the 1940s to help get Mississippians onto paved roads and off the muddy tracks of the past. It has been a very successful help to rural counties who could likely not otherwise afford to construct and maintain these roads.
To those of us who live in the rural and small town areas, the condition of our roads and bridges is especially important because most of us travel significant distances to work, church, school and retail centers. We deserve the same good roads that are available to the more populous counties of our state. I believe our actions during the 2014 session will be a good harbinger of how leadership will view the rural and small town area needs in the future. We mean business when it comes to providing for the rural areas of our state, and this recent appropriation is the proof.
Please feel free to contact me at 1720 N. Main St., Water Valley, MS 38965, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (662) 473-2571. I look forward to hearing from you on any issue that you may have.