The leader of a Mississippi Senate transportation study committee proposes the state levy $700 million in new taxes to support road maintenance as well as some other non-transportation related projects.
Sen. Willie Simmons, D-Cleveland, said Thursday that the proposal, which would be the largest state tax increase in more than 20 years, is only a starting point for discussion, and invited alternate proposals.
But some members of his committee quickly indicated they aren't interested in that much spending, and may oppose any new taxes.
Leaders of the Mississippi Department of Transportation say they don't have enough money to keep current roads and bridges from deteriorating and need hundreds of millions more per year.
The state Senate asked the panel to examine transportation needs and make recommendations to lawmakers in 2014.
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