Standing room only crowd confronts Madison County officials - - Jackson, MS

Standing room only crowd confronts Madison County officials

By Monica Hernandez - bio | email | twitter

MADISON COUNTY, MS (WLBT) - So many people showed up to the Madison County board of supervisors meeting, the crowd spilled out into the hallway. Many came to speak out about the county's road plan, which some believe wastes taxpayer money on "roads to nowhere."

"We have a lot of design going on in our county, but you can't drive on road plans. We want asphalt," said Mary McLaurin, a Madison County resident who is part of a group called "We the People Congress," and organized the protest.

The majority of the $50 million borrowed for the road plan was to go to the Reunion Parkway Interchange project, which collapsed this month when supervisors refused to let MDOT oversee construction.

"Because of the situation we were put in with MDOT, we had to move on to other things," said Tim Johnson, president of the board of supervisors.

Johnson blamed MDOT for not upholding their end of the bargain, but state transportation commissioner Dick Hall blames county waste for the failure.

The county already poured nearly $5 million into the project, the majority going to county engineer Rudy Warnock. Now, some are asking him to reveal his subcontracts.

"I think it will be very revealing to see how much of the work in Madison County is subbed out and marked up hundreds of thousands of dollars," said Mary Hawkins Butler, Mayor of the city of Madison.

There are over $21 million left over from the failed Reunion Parkway Interchange, and it's being redirected into projects like the Calhoun Station Parkway. While protestors stopped there on a bus tour of what they call "roads to nowhere," the mayor of Canton believes it's a path to opportunity.

"I think the Calhoun Station is the road for Canton to be an economic powerhouse," said Canton Mayor William Truly.

During the meeting, supervisor John Bell Crosby made a motion to use the $21 million left over from the failed Reunion Project to pay off the $50 million bond referendum. But supervisors voted 3 to 2 to keep the road plan as is.

Meanwhile, "We the People Congress" said they are considering gathering the signatures to try to recall Johnson.

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