Mississippi Roadways Hit the Lotto

More than $47.2 million has been transferred from the state lottery corporation to the DOT for road repairs since the launch of the program on November 25, 2019.

Aerial Shot Of Bridge 1643504
Tom Fisk/Pexels

The Mississippi Lottery Corporation (MLC) has completed its April transfer of $9,709,843.36 in net proceeds to the Lottery Proceeds Fund in the Mississippi State Treasury. This brings the total amount deposited to the state to more than $47.2 million since launch on November 25, 2019.

“We are pleased to be able continue to raise funds to benefit Mississippi’s roads, bridges and education,” said MLC president Tom Shaheen. “Yesterday, the Mississippi Department of Transportation announced the awarding of initial paving contracts using lottery dollars. It is exciting to play a part in these developments that will benefit Mississippians!”

The agency said it awarded funds for seven pavement restoration projects in April, with another 12 bids for similar contracts issued in May.

“MDOT is so appreciative of the legislature for designating a portion of the lottery proceeds to Mississippi’s maintenance needs [and] these funds will help ensure our highways stay safe for the traveling public,” noted Tom King, chair of the Mississippi Transportation Commission, in a statement.

“We aren’t wasting any time utilizing these funds,” he added. “MDOT’s already awarded numerous projects throughout the state and you will see them start moving forward quickly.”

The Alyce G. Clark Mississippi Lottery Law – enacted during an August 2018 special legislative session – created the Mississippi Lottery Corporation to oversee the sale of lottery tickets and also designated the first $80 million of net lottery proceeds annually for state road and bridge maintenance needs.

Subsequently, the state’s transportation commission designated all lottery proceeds for pavement restoration projects.

“This money isn’t just going into Mississippi’s highways; it’s going to the people as well,” added Commissioner Willie Simmons, who represents the state’s Central Transportation District. “These projects will not only enhance the people’s quality of life; they will also supply jobs for many people throughout the state.”

For a complete list of MDOT projects using lottery net proceeds, click here.

Other States Using Non-Traditional Funding

With funding from gas tax revenues continuing to dwindle, states are seeking ways to fund their roadways outside traditional methods. States’ voters approved $7.7 billion in transportation spending last year with many of them imposing revenue streams outside of the traditional raising of the gas tax. 

Most of the ballot measures involved property tax increases to pay for road repairs while others imposed vehicle miles traveled fees, electric vehicle fees or increased their wheel tax. All in all, 57 ballot initiatives across 12 states had the potential to raise $20 million in revenue each. 

The Congressional Budget Office has also made a number of recommendations regarding highway funding, including charging motorists based on road use and initiating performance benchmarks for road projects.

Maybe more states should be like Mississippi and take a gamble on their highway funding.