Mississippi lawmakers seek to end road money stalemate

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi lawmakers deadlocked in 2017 over efforts to increase spending for roads and bridges.

With the 2018 legislature session opening Tuesday, many who support more money for transportation say support for an outright tax increase remains weak.

State Sen. Dean Kirby, a Pearl Republican, has promised a move to send a combination of taxes and vehicle registration fees to the ballot for voters to decide.

Scott Waller of the Mississippi Economic Council says it might be possible to borrow money for bridges while they seek permanent revenue streams.

Borrowing is an option for the $20 million a year that lawmakers have traditionally allotted to county bridges. Inspectors have closed hundreds of bridges this year, and county governments are seeking $40 million after getting nothing in 2017.