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MISSION STATEMENT

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"The Mississippi Department of Transportation is responsible for providing a safe intermodal transportation network that is planned, designed, constructed and maintained in an effective, cost efficient, and environmentally sensitive manner."

FOR OUR NEXT TRANSPORTATION COMMISSIONER...

MAJOR GOALS & THE RESOURCES NEEDED TO MEET THEM

There are many goals for our Department of Transportation, all of which are high priority. The value of our road and bridge infrastructure is estimated at $65 Billion. Maintaining this asset to keep it fit for purpose and to protect its value has, and always will take precedence over all. 

 

For the past several years there has been a moratorium on capacity projects. With the recent increase in state revenues, the legislature has appropriated additional funds to be used on a prioritized list of capacity projects around the state. The $450M made available this year will give these projects a much needed boost, but it is important that this money be spent prudently. 

 

The key is to address our infrastructure’s immediate issues, while also putting the money into a lasting program for sustained improvement and growth. Too much spending at once would drive up the cost of materials and labor, even higher than inflation is already doing. Steady growth is not only preferable for the market, businesses impacted by the DOT’s budget will benefit as well. By allocating these funds based on a concrete, gradual plan, it will give contractors the confidence to invest in equipment and employees long term. 

 

Another aspect of managing the DOT’s funds is to ensure the department receives its due. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) opens up $1B in federal funds for MDOT. In order to receive this, the legislature must follow through with their commitment of $200M over five years in match money required by the IIJA. As your Commissioner, I will hold my peers in the legislature to this commitment. This is especially vital as the DOT’s primary funding source, fuel tax, is declining as the automobile market changes. 

 

Alternative fuel and electric vehicles are gaining market share and we have to prepare for this shift. It will be necessary to build out infrastructure to support these vehicles. With the market changes and improvements in IC engine efficiency, fuel consumption is down, lessening the money available to maintain our infrastructure, while prices are increasing. This is a NO WIN situation.  We must work with the legislature on developing fair taxing mechanisms which meet the financial requirements for keeping our roads and bridges safe.

 

Our Transportation Commissioners are responsible for overseeing the infrastructure supporting all means of transport throughout the state. Roads and bridges make up the vast majority, but Mississippi's transport system also includes railways, ports and even a small amount of mass transit. Investments in these areas must not be overlooked, as it could represent tremendous opportunities for our state. I look forward to exploring the possibilities, and ask for the confidence of your vote in November. 

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