July 01, 2008

More fuel for the fire...

As if the article from 2 weeks ago wasn't enough, there's been a spate of new articles lately reflecting on MDOT's funding woes, including this SunHerald article, also published today by the ClarionLedger), and even picked up by Forbes. There's also this article from a week ago (originally published by the ClarionLedger). Then there's a letter from Wayne Brown, the Southern District Commissioner.

Two items I found of interest. First is that MDOT's annual construction budget has stayed relatively even for the past several years. And we all know what inflation has done over that timeframe.

Second is that this is just now hitting the mainstream media in Mississippi, when it has long been noted as a problem in other states. I'm thinking, as I noted in my previous blog entry, that this is a result of MDOT's "Katrina money" running out...most of the post-Katrina reconstruction having run its course...and now they're feeling the pinch.

And solving the problem won't be easy. This is a state that has long had an aversion to high taxes. Plus you have a population that is very rural and drives a lot as a result who would be hit even worse by higher gas prices, and so is well opposed to a gas tax increase, even though that gas tax money would go back to the roads and is thus far the fairest way to pay for them. Then to top it off, you have a lot of people mad at MDOT for the way they run business...and their "elected transportation commission" in particular, as exemplified in this ClarionLedger editorial from last week. So you'd have opposition to increased funding for MDOT on the simple basis of the people running the MDOT show.

Bottom line: it's going to be a rough ride for awhile (pun intended).