Congress’ failure to renew federal highway funding beyond the next three months is not expected to keep a Mississippi Economic Council transportation task force from delivering an assessment of the state’s transportation needs and how to pay for them.

Supporters of decreasing the state’s $2 billion road & bridge maintenance backlog are counting on the task force’s assessment and recommendations to be the catalyst for the first changes since 1987 in the way the state funds its building and maintaining of roads and bridges.

The chair of the committee, Sanderson Farms CEO & Chairman Joe Sanderson, has said he expects the final proposal will call for a combination of new or increased user fees and a new motor fuels tax,

Congress’ inability to approve a multi-year highway bill should not delay the study panel’s goal of presenting its transportation blueprint in mid November, said Blake Wilson, CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council, the state chamber of commerce.

The task force, he said, is working independently of anything occurring in Washington.

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