The Mississippi Legislature took a big step forward in addressing Mississippi’s transportation infrastructure with the passage of two key bills that will put more than $200 million annually into preserving the state’s most valuable asset – our infrastructure.
Special thanks to the leadership of Governor Phil Bryant, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves and Speaker Philip Gunn in the passage of the Mississippi Infrastructure Modernization Act and legislation to create a lottery, from which certain funds will be dedicated to transportation. Providing additional transportation funding has been a major priority since the completion of a report by the Blueprint Mississippi Transportation Task Force, chaired by Joe F. Sanderson, Jr. of Sanderson Farms, Inc.
The task force’s study underscored the need for focusing on the maintenance of roadways and the repair and replacement of bridges at the state and local level.
The MS Modernization Act of 2018 Will:
- Divert 35% of the 7% use tax for internet and out-of-state sales to local governments and bridge repairs.
- Divide up the use tax diversion – 15% to cities – 15% to counties – 5% to the Local System Bridge Program
- Create a new tax on hybrid and electric cars
- Bond $300 million, with $250 going to the Mississippi Department of Transportation for emergency projects and $50 million to be spent on projects deemed necessary by the legislature
- Require counties to match the state use tax money dollar for dollar
- Divert the new casino sports betting tax money toward infrastructure
The lottery legislation, which was named the “Alyce G. Clarke Mississippi Lottery Law” after the legislator who has long advocated for a lottery, will dedicate the first $80 million to the State Highway Fund for 10 years. The money is to be used with matching federal funds when available.
Any lottery revenue collected above the $80 million, will go into the Education Enhancement Fund for the Early Childhood Learning Collaborative, the Classroom Supply Fund and/or other educational purposes.
It is expected to take a year to 18 months to set up the lottery in Mississippi. The legislation also prohibited video lottery terminals, a long-standing position of MEC.
Vibrant, dependable infrastructure is critical for maintaining public safety and promoting healthy economic development. Again, we are grateful to Gov. Bryant, Lt. Gov. Reeves, Speaker Gunn and our legislature for making an important investment in Mississippi’s future.