The state's top transportation official says Mississippi's gasoline tax is insufficient and the state needs to halt the diversion of fuel tax money into other programs amid the struggle to improve aging highways and bridges.
Butch Brown, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, discussed the gas tax Wednesday during a news conference introducing a national campaign to raise the awareness of critical highway and transit system needs.
Brown says Mississippi's gas tax of 18.5 cents per gallon has remained unchanged since 1987 while fuel prices have quadrupled. He says lawmakers need to increase the tax and stop diverting about a third of the money to other programs.
One of Mississippi's most critical needs is bridge repair. Brown says about 25 percent of the state's bridges are deficient.