Saturday, July 16, 2016

$158 million for what?

The Sun-Herald's Anita Lee continues to school journalists in Mississippi.  She busted a big-time boondoggle that took place on the coast.  Wrap your head around this opening sentence: "The state of Mississippi has spent $158.5 million on a road that does not exist."  Ms. Lee waded through the weeds and provided more horrifying details:


State and county leaders began planning 22 years ago for a road to connect Interstate 10 and the state Port of Gulfport. The Mississippi Department of Transportation started spending money on the project 20 years ago after the Legislature charged the agency with the task of building the road.

The road became a vital component of port plans to dramatically increase container cargo through a $570 million expansion the federal government funded after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The port's plans have changed, though. No new container-cargo tenants have signed on for the expanded port, which should be finished in 2017.

Plans for the road wound up in federal and state courts. MDOT lost. The agency is now back at square one with environmental permitting that could take years.

State budget woes also have left MDOT and other agencies with less money. The port connector will be competing with projects statewide for funding.

"We've kind of become a maintenance organization," said Mark McConnell, MDOT's chief engineer. "We're trying to preserve what we have — our bridges and our pavement. Any kind of new construction is difficult to find the funding for."

The money MDOT has spent on the connector road covered preliminary engineering, rights of way purchases from private property owners, utility relocation and land clearing.

McConnell estimates the state will need an additional $215 million to build the road, with only $10 million of that remaining from a previous bond issue. The state also has authority to borrow an additional $125 million for the project, leaving an unfunded balance of $80 million. McConnell stressed the cost could change because estimates would have to be updated. Rest of the article. There is much more reported in this story.

You can't make this up. 

Kingfish note: Speaking of reporters, have any of them bothered to report the findings of the MDE audit of Jackson Public Schools?

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

We should weed out this waste by drug testing welfare recipients.

Anonymous said...

Since the 60's Mississippi's elected officials attitudes towards infrastructure improvements have been terrible and counter-productive. Kick-the-can down the road economics at their finest - while skimming off appropriated dollars to pass garbage legislation.

The ass hats on the hill, down to the county level - ensure where roads are placed, who gets the contract to build the roads - all depends on who's holding the gavel on the hill at the present moment. And lets not give a pass to those that sit on the highway commission!

When they have the appropriated dollars to attack an assignment, its in their best interest to get'er done while having the means to do so! Because lets keep this in mind - our gasoline tax has been stagnant for the last 30 years (1987 was the last time it was raised), regardless of inflation. But instead, they take that money and blow it elsewhere! That was foolhardy and irresponsible and it sets us back further. It is currently estimated that in order to get our current roads and bridges up to date will cost us $550 million annually!? Do we need anymore evidence considering the current state of our roads?

Once again our resources are drained through corruption and mismanagement! Now we are underfunded and just plugging patches - which leads to uneven pavements and terrible mobility across the state! Due to the terrible roads, Mississippi leads the south in car wrecks per capita which is the reason car insurance rates are going up for Mississippians!

Look at the burden this places on Mississippians!? Look at registration costs for vehicles in Mississippi (your penalized for owning an update vehicle by higher tag costs), car insurance rates, annual maintenance costs (front end alignments, tires, rims, etc etc)

But instead our legislators gunning for smaller government - but want to control what you do in your damn bedroom!? Where are their damn priorities!?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a Rudy Warnock project.

Anonymous said...

The Port of the Future with a channel depth from the past. A road paved with taxpayer dollars but not yet built for the trucks that need it. Thank you Haley Barbour and the other smart men involved for all the successes that were completed on your watch.

Anonymous said...

Just think of what shape the state of Ms. would be in if we didn't get back $3.07 for every $1.00 we pay in taxes. We are a welfare state.

Anonymous said...

On occassion, MDOT has completed projects in fine style. On other occassions, they have been totally wasteful and not responsive to the general public. They have pig-headedly given us the "too early to comment" and "too late to change" excuses when public comment is only a pro forma measure.

Has a study ever been done of the last 20 years and which consultants and contractors have provided excellent products, acceptable projects, and poor projects. How many of these projects have been performed for the amount the contractor bid?

How much per year has MDOT devoted to maintenance in the last 20 years? This should not include Katrina damage as that was covered by Katrina money.

Where are we on bridge repair? Other than Continental Tire, what new industries are requiring MDOT expenditures? What is the anticipated costs to the taxpayer for Continental Tire to be expended by MDOT.

We never get a comprehensive look at MDOT. It is always like this last year's "rush" for a new tax to benefit MDOT and how our state will not prosper without this huge expenditure. The amount they were willing to devote to projects within city limits was a pittance. The same trucks that consume so much of MDOT expenditure are running inside city limits too.

We need better articles, reports and summaries published in an understandable manner to the public.

Anonymous said...

@ July 16, 2016 at 2:04 PM

Touché hombre!

Anonymous said...

Don't be so hard on MDOT....they built a beautiful building across the street from the Capitol.

Anonymous said...

11:34 AM there have been 8 people from the TANF program who have tested positive for drugs in this state which is 14/100th of 1 per cent.

Anonymous said...

5:45, I'm sorry the joke was lost on you.

Anonymous said...

6:30 PM We have to focus on the important priorities in this state. The state saved a lifetime of paying TANF benefits when they found those 8 people. What is important are the people of this state not the $158 million highway projects or the $200 to $300 million state budget deficit.

Anonymous said...

The three stooges, Bryant, Reeves and Gunn, have bled the State's resources between an ill advised tax cut and unconstitutional social legislation (HB 1523) that limits our reputation and business prospects. All three stooges need to go. Now.

Anonymous said...

The cause of government debt? 1523!
The cause of the spread of ISIS? 1523!
Zika virus on the move? 1523!

Anonymous said...

Phil Bryant will be happy to know that the federal government passed out over $137 Billion in improper payments in 2015.Makes all of the waste in Mississippi look small in comparison.This is also much larger than all of the emergency contracts and tax cuts combined.I Pheel better now.

Anonymous said...

Haven't read any JJ comments in a couple of days. Realized this morning that I didn't miss anything because the same sock puppets with their same tired revisionist laments are still here.

Anonymous said...

8:11, Welcome back.

Anonymous said...

Not sure what was wrong with my 'entry' regarding people like Mayor Mary strong-arming the D.O.T. for years and actually, in effect, controlling the commissioners like puppets.

Anonymous said...

How many people in the TANF program did they test? If not all of them then why not?

On the $158 million. Why worry, Ms. has a lot of extra money. Just ask any politician. Ever see a broke politician?

Anonymous said...

Sorry that we have so many short-sighted, ignorant folks that feel that they could do a great job of running Mississippi.

A new road from the port to I-10 is an idea that needs to be done. But because of - environmental issues, land acquisition, lawsuits, and dozens of other issues - such a new road through an urbanized area isn't done in a vacuum or in a year.

Actually, the original idea that still needs to be completed is a new toll road highway that would connect to this 'port/I-10' connector to I-20. The truck traffic north from the coast to connect with 20 E/W and 55 N/S that currently has to travel on Hwy 49 loses thousands of dollars in gas and time on every trip.

But new roads are expensive. And folks that only travel to the coast to a concert or a slot machine don't have the foresight to recognize the needs. Be the same kind of folks that drive from Jackson or Flowood out to Dogwood, or even goes to Starkville and think what a wonderful world. Don't bother to realize that Lakeland Drive didn't exist 50 years ago, and Highway 25 was only built in the 80's. Then increased to a four lane fifteen years later. All that part of Rankin County developed around it - but never bother to say "thanks MDOT" or "thanks state leaders that had the foresight to plan ahead and build highways where they are needed -- for the future.

Instead, lets bitch about the money spent ahead of time to prepare for these things. Same thing could apply to all the work going on through Richland and Florence along Hwy 49 South now moving utilities. Money spent now but highway still is the same disaster - that is, until the new lanes are added to 49 to handle the traffic.

Anonymous said...

2:42, mostly the people bitch about all of the money WASTED. They also bitch about all of the money going into politicians POCKET.
I know politicians want to think they have the right to take any money they want. I know politicians do not worry about waste.

Hey, wait a minute. Are YOU a politician?

Anonymous said...

3:21 - Two questions:

(1) what politician has gotten what money into their pockets?
(2) What politician do you know that think they have the right to 'take' any money they want. (I assume you mean for their own personal use - if it is for a 'program' then the difference is who's opinion about those programs are correct - yours, mine or theirs.)

I'm not going to ask you about politicians that don't worry about waste, because I know of many of them myself.

And no - I am not a politician. Are you? (I assume not, but since that seems to be your automatic jump, thought I should give you the chance to tell the obvious, since I bet you don't answer the first two questions.)

Anonymous said...

(1) If a person is a politician they are dishonest. Just a fact. Part of the job. They make the laws for others to obey but have a different set of laws for themselves. See-Hillary
(2) Every politician. Bar none.

Anonymous said...

Drug test welfare recipients? Well, let's start with Congress, since they have those huge undeserved pensions and every other perk guaranteed even while they sell influence to betray the taxpayer.

Then let's drug test you jerks who get a home mortgage deduction.

How about drug testing your parents when they manage to liquidate their assets and get Medicaid to pay their nursing home bills?

People should be able to alter their consciousness and the state instead has turned this issue into a boondoggle for drug treatment centers (ineffective) and private prisons.

Anonymous said...

If you depend on the working people of America to pay your bills, raise your children, provide a place for you to live, and put food on your table, taking a drug test should not be a problem.
If you do not like that you can do all of these things plus pay your taxes and everyone will be happy.

Anonymous said...

What about the $500,000 water well that was drilled in the MDOT parking lot downtown? That was abour eight or nine years ago. It was supposed to provide water to the MDOT building, Woolfolk, the New Capitol and the Supreme Court. But they decided to cap it and not use it. They put a flower bed around the well cap. If you're in downtown Jackson, just drive by the MDOT building and look at the $500,000 well to nowhere - another MDOT project!!!!! The next time Jackson is without water, as yes it's coming sooner or later, thank MDOT for capping the water well. State employees can enjoy another week off with pay!

Anonymous said...

Use the BP money to build it. It needs to be done. It should be a top priority. Of course, the Jackson politicians will be spending that money all over the state when it should be spent in the coastal counties.

Anonymous said...

@ July 17, 2016 at 2:42 PM

"Actually, the original idea that still needs to be completed is a new toll road highway that would connect to this 'port/I-10' connector to I-20. The truck traffic north from the coast to connect with 20 E/W and 55 N/S that currently has to travel on Hwy 49 loses thousands of dollars in gas and time on every trip."

Well said! Say it again and keep driving that point home until the ass hats on the hill finally get a clue!

Anonymous said...

5:01 - everybody that cannot answer basic questions with anything but a b/s opinion without basis - is an idiot. Just a fact. Part of the role. Sorry Charlie, take your toys back to the kindergarten room and play by (with) yourself for a while. You don't belong in here with the big boys who actually think before they let their fingers get in the way

Anonymous said...

@12:43. The problem is that idiots like 5:01 will be saying over and again that it is nothing but crooked politicians that want to get a piece of the pie, and don't understand that many things are done for the public good, improve the state, and are not rife with corruption.

But hopefully the few folks that really bother to think about the future and how to improve the state will continue to see the need for this kind of infrastructure and continue to fight for its construction while fighting off the lawsuits and environmentalists.

Anonymous said...

1:05, yes Ms. is known for their honest politicians. There may be some people who do not think politicians are crooks. This is Ms. and you know what place we are in education.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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