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Mississippi looks to tackle road and bridge maintenance problems

Mississippi looks to tackle road and bridge maintenance problems
Mississippi looks to tackle road and bridge maintenance problems

As evidenced by the recent bridge collapse in Washington State, many bridges and roads around the country are in a state of disrepair. As maintenance on these structures continues to be put off, the chances of costly – and dangerous – accidents rises. 

In Mississippi, a State Senate committee will soon look over a proposal to improve the way the state pays for its municipal maintenance - including all work that needs to be done on the state's roads and bridges. 

According to the Mississippi Business Journal, Senator Willie Simmons, a member of the Senate Highways and Transportation Committee, has been tapped to lead the group, which will first meet on June 12 to discuss the issues. The talks will go on throughout the year, and a decision will be determined in the 2014 legislative session. Members of the committee will be from several different industries, including the Mississippi Truckers Association. The group said that it agrees more funds should be allocated toward road maintenance, but any changes must keep in mind "all highway users."

"While our membership recognizes that our state's highway system needs to be maintained, any considerations of a funding increase to maintain Mississippi's four lane highway system should involve all highway users," said David Roberts, president of the association.

The news source reports Simmons said he believes the best way to improve statewide road maintenance is to focus on areas that are essential for getting goods out of the hands of producers and to consumers.

"We know that if you have a good transportation system you are more likely to bring industry into the area," he added.

Simmons stated that a similar group formed in 1987 to address the maintenance, but the committee couldn't reach a deal – an action Simmons said has "caught up with" the state.

According to the Washington Democrat and Chronicle, the nation's infrastructure may not be getting the attention it needs. Around the country, it would take about $20 billion worth of bridge maintenance – and 15 years – to address all of the structural problems that have been reported.

Municipalities can keep track of such maintenance through new software and programs.

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