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New Report Says 28% of Miss. Roads Are in Disrepair

By Paul Boger | Published 10 Dec 2013 08:30am | comments

More than a quarter of Mississippi's roads are in poor or mediocre condition, and it’s costing drivers approximately $1.6 billion dollars annually in additional vehicle maintenance. As MPB's Paul Boger reports lawmakers and other state officials are looking into what it will take to repair Mississippi's crumbling infrastructure.

According to a report released by The Road Information Program -- or TRIP -- a non-profit transportation research group, the average Mississippi driver spends more than 12 hundred dollars annually on additional vehicle maintenance due to damage caused by poor road conditions.

Frank Moretti is the director of policy and research at TRIP. He says Mississippi's roads have fallen into a state of disrepair.

"The numbers here in Mississippi add up to trouble when you look at the condition the state's transportation system." said Moretti. "We found across the state that 28% of roads have pavements in poor or mediocre condition."

The report also looked at how Mississippi's crumbling roads are affecting the economy. Blake Wilson is the President of the Mississippi Economic Council.

"It's time to extend the conversation on this issue." said Wilson. "It's time to reach out to the business community in a broad sense, and at the same time really look at economic competitiveness and compare to the other states we compete with the most and where are we positioned. Because we cannot run the risk of falling behind."

While the report does not make any specific recommendations on how to fix the problem, House Transportation Committee Chair Robert Johnson from Natchez says shedding light on the state's ever-growing infrastructure issues is the first step.

"This is not an effort, this is not to thrust anything upon the public in terms of funding." said Johnson. "This is to make you aware of what your needs are. Before we ask, and before we talk about what we need in terms of funding we find it incumbent to make you understand and to make the public understand exactly how serious the need is out there. Where we can start working on what we'll need to solve the problem."

The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road improvements results in a 5 dollar in reduction in vehicle maintenance costs.








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