Wicker applauds strategic investments in Mississippi

Published 7:00 am Thursday, September 1, 2016

The future of our communities depends on investments that not only meet current challenges but also anticipate future ones.

In traveling across the state over the past month, I have continually seen how Mississippi is looking ahead to create better transportation options, more opportunities for economic growth, and a richer quality of life for everyone who calls our state home.

Progress on Passenger Rail

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Our work continues in the effort to restore passenger rail service along the Gulf Coast. In early August, I met in Biloxi with leaders of the Southern Rail Commission, local officials, the Gulf Regional Planning Commission, and rail transportation company CSX for an update on the progress that is being made. Our discussion reaffirmed that returning passenger rail service from New Orleans to Florida remains a top priority at the federal, state, and local levels.

Passenger rail service would connect Mississippians to more jobs, offer an alternative to highway traffic, and bring more visitors to our beautiful shores and lively main streets. The report to Congress by the Gulf Coast Rail Service Working Group, which was tasked with studying options for restored service and making recommendations, is expected early next month.

Opportunities for Future Growth

Ribbon-cuttings across the state are a good sign that our communities are evolving and revitalizing. 

Greenwood recently hosted a ribbon-cutting for its new wastewater treatment facility – a project that has been years in the making. A high-quality wastewater system is important to residents’  quality of life as well as to families who decide to settle in the area and job creators who choose to invest there. 

I am pleased that more important infrastructure upgrades are ahead for the Mississippi Delta, thanks to a recently announced investment by the Delta Regional Authority to improve roads, sewers, and a medical clinic.

In Southaven this month, I took part in the grand opening of a new building for the Chamber of Commerce, which promises to give entrepreneurs even more support and tools for their businesses. 

In Natchez, we dedicated Fort Rosalie as the third National Park Service site in the city. Additionally, on the upcoming anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, I will participate in the ribbon-cutting for Waveland’s new police station – a major milestone in the city’s recovery.

Hearing From Our Job Creators

In addition to welcoming these new developments, I have also spent time over the past month with many of our job creators and small businesses. 

Through these conversations, I have learned firsthand how the Obama Administration’s war on coal has hurt local manufacturers like Structural Steel Services in Meridian. 

I have had the opportunity to hear directly from Mississippi’s restaurant owners about the impact of the Department of Labor’s onerous overtime rules and Obamacare. Our state has a lot to offer in terms of a skilled workforce and abundant resources, but crushing rules shortchange this potential and kill jobs.

My visits with Mississippians during this state work period are important to my work in Congress, where the concerns and needs of Americans should be heard through their elected representatives. 

This dialogue is crucial as we continue to move our communities forward and seek investments that will lead to an even better, brighter Mississippi.

By Roger Wicker
U.S. Senator