Lafayette County left off from funding due to lack of ‘serious issues’

The Mississippi Transportation Commission approved road and bridge projects for 70 of 82 counties in Mississippi on January 22nd, however Lafayette County was not included.

Although the county engineer submitted projects that needed funds, Lafayette County wasn’t included, as those projects weren’t seen as serious issues, according to a local lawmaker.

Larry Britt, the county engineer of Elliott & Britt engineering, said his firm submitted eight projects around the county that needed funds.

Some of these projects, he said, had funds while others had none. However, Elliott & Britt would have been allowed to move that federal funding around between those different projects.

Britt said he was “very disappointed,” and would have really liked to have that funding.

“All we can do is submit,” Britt said. “We thought we had projects that were qualified.”

Britt said he heard that the Transportation Commission had about 800 project submissions around the entire state. The commission approved funding for 163 of those projects.

When the commission announced the 163 approved projects, Northern District Commissioner Mike Tagert said the commission considered all the submitted projects important. But, some were more significant than others, according to Associated Press.

“Those awarded will provide greatest benefit to the state’s crippled infrastructure,” Tagert said.

Britt said the county was allocated some federal funding about six to eight months ago. Of the eight projects that Britt submitted, they weren’t seen as serious, according to Mississippi House Representative Jay Hughes.

“Lafayette County has been very fortunate with a Solid tax base and good city and county management over the years,” Rep. Hughes wrote to the EAGLE in an email. “Because of this, we don’t have as many serious issues as other counties.”

The one outstanding issue Rep. Hughes mentioned was the widening of Highway 7, which he wrote has been on the drawing board for almost 20 years.

MDOT did hold a public forum at the Oxford Conference Center on February 11th, but that forum was concerning the Highway 7 and Highway 9 roundabout. Actually widening Highway 7, according to Hughes, wasn’t financially feasible.

“The cost of that project would have taken a disproportionate amount of funds available for the entire state,” Rep. Hughes wrote in an email. “Unfortunately, the transportation commissioners aren’t from Oxford.”