Opinion: Bridge closures demonstrate Mississippi’s failing infrastructure

Posted on Apr 20 2018 - 5:36am by Woody Dobson

Bridge stability is an important component of everyday safety routines among drivers and commuters, but survival in hopes of getting to and from work or school without falling through a bridge is now an apparent concern in Mississippi.

Currently, the daily agenda for most citizens in Mississippi is presumably unsafe, and taxpayer dollars have not been utilized properly to fulfill safe infrastructure practices until now.

Gov. Phil Bryant has now issued the long overdue emergency closure of over 100 bridges throughout Mississippi, and they’re all in dangerous shape.

Driving to and from the Mississippi Delta while growing up allowed me to see the dangers of poor maintenance quality in Mississippi. Crossing the Tallahatchie bridge was an experience in itself as the local town of Money, where the bridge was constructed, was already in considerable disrepair.

Since then, I developed a hindsight to government spending quality and have been extremely displeased with the state’s varying transportation initiatives. The year is now 2018, and the recent announcement of over 100 bridge closures is far from ridiculous, to put it politely.

The recent closure of state bridges is inexcusable, as we now live in a modern era of technological advancement and rapid innovation. In my personal experience, I’ve seen well-built roads that were just as old crossing into Alabama from Fulton, Mississippi. Now as far from being old, the Alabama bridges and roads were still properly maintained and well-supported even from a similarly poorly-funded state.

In those regards, it seems our politicians need educational reform from federal governmental entities instead of aiding the top one percent of Mississippi residents. Lives are now at stake from the poor governmental spending practices arising from our public officials in Jackson who are seemingly ill-concerned with the important transportation needs and public assistance of their voters.

In a different light, bridges are indeed expensive. The mass mobilization of state construction workers along with the cooperation of the federal government raises state monetary concerns.

Closing over 100 bridges could have been handled in a more timely manner if the transportation sector had a well-grounded communication network and general knowledge of maintenance.

Instead, some public workers and state officials have made semi-productive moves as reflected in the 2018 Senate infrastructure proposal. If the state doesn’t correct its desynchronized state spending to the rest of the nation, we may soon be in a world of economic loss.

Mississippi either needs to learn from other states’ transportation sectors or reform its own system entirely. Not to mention, the lack of a quality transportation sector in Mississippi is indeed reflective of its own sub-par education system. Maybe throwing money into the educational sector of the economy instead of providing incentives for local elites can also improve our safety. After all, I actually want to get to school and not fall through a bridge funded by the one percent taxpayer’s dime.

Woody Dobson is a senior political science major from Tupelo.