Crumbling state of infrastructure prompts hearing - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Crumbling state of infrastructure prompts hearing

If you drive anywhere in the state of Mississippi, you're impacted by the condition of the roads or closed bridges. Source: WLBT If you drive anywhere in the state of Mississippi, you're impacted by the condition of the roads or closed bridges. Source: WLBT
If you drive anywhere in the state of Mississippi, you're impacted by the condition of the roads or closed bridges. Source: WLBT If you drive anywhere in the state of Mississippi, you're impacted by the condition of the roads or closed bridges. Source: WLBT
If you drive anywhere in the state of Mississippi, you're impacted by the condition of the roads or closed bridges. Source: WLBT If you drive anywhere in the state of Mississippi, you're impacted by the condition of the roads or closed bridges. Source: WLBT
If you drive anywhere in the state of Mississippi, you're impacted by the condition of the roads or closed bridges. Source: WLBT If you drive anywhere in the state of Mississippi, you're impacted by the condition of the roads or closed bridges. Source: WLBT
If you drive anywhere in the state of Mississippi, you're impacted by the condition of the roads or closed bridges. Source: WLBT If you drive anywhere in the state of Mississippi, you're impacted by the condition of the roads or closed bridges. Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Across the state of Mississippi, hundreds of bridges and roads are closed or in bad shape.

Now, state officials are hoping to lead the charge in replacing or repairing the aging infrastructure.

If you drive anywhere in the state of Mississippi, you're impacted by the condition of the roads or closed bridges -- it's those residents state officials want to improve conditions for, before the infrastructure goes beyond repair.

The Mississippi Legislative Democratic Caucus is meeting with state, county and municipal leaders about the states crumbling infrastructure.

State transportation officials say they only have enough funding to provide new maintenance.

New construction projects are now thrown to the side.

In recent weeks, hundreds of bridges across the state of Mississippi were closed due to their dangerous conditions.

READ MORE: Governor Bryant orders immediate closure of 83 locally owned bridges

Those closures are now impacting thousands of Mississippians who depend on them for transportation.

Thursday morning, the Mississippi Legislative Democratic Caucus held a hearing on the states infrastructure crisis. This was a chance for state lawmakers and representatives at the state, county and municipal levels to discuss how the aging roads and bridges are impacting their areas.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Is your bridge closed?

A report by the Mississippi Economic Council showed there are 25,000 miles in need of repair and 13, 000 miles also have a poor rating.

The report said $375 million annually is needed to perform maintenance on those roads.

RELATED: Counties have no choice but to close bridges in midst of emergency declaration

"Absolutely boils down to money," said Central District Commissioner Dick Hall. "But if you don't invest, you're not going to earn anything. You're not going to make a profit, you're not going to get ahead. Mississippi's economy is the worst. It's time to look at that and say yeah were going to bleed a little bit, but let's get the money together, let's make the kind of investment we've got to make to make this economy something."

Commissioner Hall is recommending lawmakers increase the gas tax to pay for road and bridge repairs.

The tax hasn't been increased since 1987.

Last year, efforts to fund transportation needs through the states reserve funds, died in the legislature.

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