The Mississippi Transportation Commission has approved $250 million for 163 emergency road and bridge repair projects.
(Mississippi DOT Photo)
The Mississippi Transportation Commission approved $250 million Jan. 22 for 163 Emergency Road and Bridge Repair Fund or ERBRF projects that aim to repair or replace 200 bridges — including 99 that are currently closed and another 91 that have posted weight restrictions.
City and county governments get $213 million for projects on local roads, the commission noted in a statement, while the Mississippi Department of Transportation gets $37 million for projects on the state highway network.
The commission added that 690 applications totaling nearly $1 billion in funding requests were received between Nov. 14 and Dec. 14 last year and that it chose the final 163 projects for the available $250 million in funds based on metrics that took into account bridge condition, project readiness, traffic volume, mobility and economic impact.
Each application was analyzed and ranked based on these metrics and other criteria established through joint meetings with the ERBRF Advisory Board as well as survey information received from local governments, noted Commissioner Tom King, who represents the southern transportation district.
"The Transportation Commission worked closely with the Mississippi DOT and the advisory board to ensure the most effective statewide allocation of funds which improves public safety and strengthens Mississippi's economy," he explained in a statement. "The selected projects will replace closed and posted bridges, reopening many agricultural and commerce corridors as well as providing safe passage for emergency vehicles and school buses."
The Emergency Road and Bridge Repair Fund was created by the Mississippi Infrastructure Modernization Act of 2018; a measured signed into law during the 2018 Special Legislative Session that authorized issuance of up to $250 million in bonds to repair public roads and bridges that will be partially repaid through revenue generated by a new state lottery.
"While we were not able to fully fund the $1 billion in requested applications, it is a start to addressing the state's critical infrastructure needs," added Commissioner Dick Hall, chair of the Mississippi Transportation Commission. "We want to thank Gov. Bryant and the legislature for this is a step in the right direction. However, we need sustained funding to address all deteriorating bridges and crumbling roadways."