MDOT commissioner: Additional $650 million from legislature needed to improve roads

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Funding continues to be a top priority for the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) as Northern District Commissioner John Caldwell and company are asking for an additional $650 million from the legislature.

The funding, which would be added to an annual budget that is currently at a historic high, would go to maintaining and fixing more roads across the state.

“We’re basically looking at $400 million annually to maintain what we have that we need to add to our annual budget, and that’s a challenge,” Caldwell said on The Gallo Show. “Then, we start talking about whether we’re actually going to build toward our future and improve the highways that we have and improve capacity, you’re talking about another $250 million annually.”

While Caldwell is grateful for the legislature appropriating nearly $2 billion to MDOT during the 2023 session, he believes the additional increase is necessary to keep moving forward.

“Everything we appreciate, but everything short of $650 million is going to leave somebody out,” he continued.

To date, nearly 30 percent of Mississippi’s roads are in poor condition, according to Caldwell. However, he sees the extra $650 million as a fast track to getting that number down into the teens.

“There’s always a road that’s going to bad. The cycle of maintenance will always be there, but are we going to live with what we have now with about 30 percent of our roads being in poor condition? Or are we going to bring that number of poor condition roads down to the teens or under twenty percent?”

The full interview with Caldwell can be watched below.

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