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If HB 1364 Passes, Mississippians Will Be Able To Vote On Funding For Roads

By Tommy Reynolds
District 33 Representative

In the midst of one of the greatest winter storms of a generation, there is some good news from the Capitol. The House Ways and Means Committee passed an important bill that will provide funds to complete needed road improvements, road repair and maintain county and city roads and bridges.
One of the chief measures of economic success for communities is the availability of good, safe roads. House Bill 1364 addresses it.
For the citizens of District 33, the good news is the measure provides funding to four-lane Highway 7 from Oxford to the Highway 7 by-pass at Water Valley. Four-laning this segment of the highway will result in safer, faster travel between these two important cities and promote economic development for our people. Additionally, it will improve the likelihood that we can anticipate a four-lane extension to Interstate 55 in the nearer future.
It’s no secret that many of Mississippi’s local roads and bridges are still in dire condition – even though various funding packages have passed the legislature recently. The recent freezing and thawing of this fragile infrastructure likely will make travel conditions worse.
If House Bill 1364 passes this year, Mississippians will be able to vote in June on the funding mechanism that provides the improvements to state highways – most of which are specifically described in the Bill. As recommended by most economists and, significantly, the Mississippi Economic Council, the bill provides for a tax increase on gasoline and diesel fuel. Mississippi has one of the lowest such tax in the nation and has for many years.
This lack of funding has been the source of many of our transportation woes. If there comes a time when we no longer need this additional income for our transportation needs, it can potentially be revoked.
We are hoping to see this effort become law. It is past time for us to do what is necessary to make sure our citizens can travel safely on our roads and bridges. In addition to improvements for state highways, another significant outcome of the measure will be that $100 million will be provided for county road improvements and $100 million for municipal roads and streets. We have many counties, cities and towns whose streets and roads are crumbling and dotted with dangerous potholes due to the lack of funds to keep them in good repair. Add to that, the number of weather-related burst pipes from antiquated water systems, and we have a dangerous situation that negatively impacts hopes for significant economic development.
I supported this measure, and I believe it has a chance of making it through the legislative process this session. Most of us are well aware of the urgent transportation needs in our districts, and this is a logical solution.
Last week, house members overcame the icy travel constraints by making use of modern technology. We Zoomed our committee meetings this week in order to make an important deadline on time. Having access to the internet has become an essential component of life during the pandemic and the recent ice/snow storm has emphasized the need. I support any and all efforts to bring strong, solid internet access to all Mississippians.
If I can be of assistance to you, please contact me. My email address is My residential address is 1720 North Main Street, Water Valley, MS 38965, and my office address is P.O. Box 280, Charleston, MS 38921. My office phone number is 662-647-3203.

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