GetSMART proposes highway-funding plan

Published 3:15 pm Friday, November 7, 2008

A statewide group is proposing to build highways by bypassing the Mississippi Department of Transportation and working directly with local communities.

GetSMART stands for Start Mississippi’s Approved Roads Today. It has been working to find $600 million per year to complete and maintain the Vision 21 Highway program, passed without adequate funds in 2002 by the Legislature.

The group wants lawmakers to create the Mississippi Transportation Infrastructure Bank, an authority independent of MDOT and one to work with local governments to find money for specific projects.

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Officials say the bank would be able to issue tax-backed bonds and partner with the private sector to build highways.