Transportation infrastructure needs improvement

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Here in Pearl River County traffic seems bad when cars are stacked along U.S. 11 all the way to the intersection of Richardson Ozona Road.

But anyone who commutes to New Orleans, Gulfport or Biloxi knows what a real pain traffic can be.

Established in the 1950s, our nation’s highway and interstate system is fast becoming antiquated and congested.

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More lanes will be needed along with more roadways to accommodate the growing population in this country.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation has said for years they intend to widen a section of U.S. 11 from the entrance of Hide-A-Way Lake to the bridge over the Hobolochitto Creek. We’re hopeful this project will take place, but the project’s start date is pushed back regularly.

But widening a small section of a highway in a small town is only a scratch on the surface of a much larger problem. As more and more cars take to the highway, travel time to a destination grows. Our city has minimal public transportation. Most of what does exist are private taxi companies and bus transportation for the elderly and handicapped through a program. There is no public bus stop or short distance rail option, so if you want to get anywhere inside or outside this county you need a vehicle. Depending on where you live you could walk, but if you live outside of the city that’s not a viable option.

The Obama administration is proposing a toll option to address the issue in major cities. By allowing states to toll federal interstates, additional revenue can be generated to help build more lanes and maintain the ones already in existence.

Paying additional tolls may make everyone’s pocketbook lighter. But, the fact still remains; something has to be done to improve our transportation systems. Whether that is an upgrade to the roads, expansion of public transportation into less populated areas or self-driving cars capable of avoiding accidents and subsequently traffic jams.