Officials discuss Mississippi's infrastructure and state lottery

March 6, 2017

PINE BELT, Miss. - Local and state officials attended a breakfast meet-and-greet with Pearl River Community College students Monday morning.

 

FOX 23 discussed infrastructure and proposed state lottery with state officials.

 

Last week President Donald Trump said he will ask Congress to approve a $1 trillion investment in the infrastructure of the United States.

 

“The time has come to for a new program of national rebuilding" said President Trump during his address to Congress.
 

Commissioner Tom King with Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) said its good to have support in Washington D.C.

 

“Whatever they give us on infrastructure, is matching monies, most of the time its 80% federal, 20% state, so we still have to have the matching monies for those roads and the infrastructure that President Trump is talking about.”      

 

Officials said Mississippi is in need of better roads and highways, but the state should not wait on a commitment from President Trump, rather work with what they have now.


State Representative Larry Byrd said, “I think we should be on top of our own game."

 

He added, "There just doesn’t seem to be the will in the legislature to raise the revenue that we need to improve our infrastructure to maintain the roads and bridges that we have now or even to build new ones.”

 

Senator John Polk said, "We have to wait and see what that would be, we don’t know, he’s not outside to see what happens"

 

He continued, "I especially would like to know where the Federal government is going to get a trillion dollars, but it certainly couldn’t help Mississippi, if he should do that.”

 

Along with other state issues, officials discussed the state lottery amendment which died in the House February. Governor Phil Bryant supported the amendment and said it would help with the state's current deficit.

 

State Representative Toby Barker said, “Would it bring in some money to help fill that gap in the coming years, yes."

 

"But the opposite side to that is, it wouldn’t bring in as much of the gap we have right now, we’re down at least $150 million for the fiscal year, and a lottery can bring in at least to $50 to $80 million" said Rep. Barker.

Rep. Byrd said, “I do not think that the leadership on the House side that would support it, and there are individuals in the Senate side that would kill it too"

 

He continued, "I just do not see it happening, I know a lot of people would like to have a lottery that would benefit us several million dollars.”

 

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