State Auditor Shad White released the results of a study assessing the efficiency of the Mississippi Department of Transportation this week. The Mississippi Legislature passed infrastructure legislation during the 2018 Special Legislative Session giving the state auditor’s office the responsibility of overseeing a performance audit of the state department.

“The Auditor’s office brought in national experts who had done studies on departments of transportation around the country for this project,” White said. “Working with those experts, we found MDOT is meeting many industry standards and best practices. But in any agency with a billion-dollar budget, there will be ways to save money.”

Areas of potential savings the audit identified are:

  • Eliminating under-utilized vehicles
  • Not replacing under-utilized commuting vehicles
  • Eliminating unnecessary staff in fleet maintenance
  • Eliminating under-utilized rest areas and managing project schedules better

“We appreciate State Auditor White making sure this study was thoroughly conducted,” Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation President Mike McCormick said. “I think the points the audit brought up are a good place to start in improving our infrastructure.”

To view the entire performance audit report, click here.

In addition to the release of these results, MDOT also met with the Emergency Road and Bridge Fund (ERBRF) Advisory Committee to give an update on current ERBRF projects. As chair of the committee, McCormick is optimistic about

“As chair of the ERBRF Committee, I get to see first-hand how these projects are progressing,” McCormick said. “I am optimistic we are headed in the right direction to improving our infrastructure problems.”

In other news:

  • Legislators are filing hundreds of more bills. Committees have begun to meet on legislation. Bill must pass out of committee by March 6 in order to stay alive during this legislative session
  • Senate and House Appropriations subcommittees met with several state entities to hear their annual budget requests this week. Meetings of note include:
    • The Senate Appropriations subcommittee met with Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce.
    • The House Appropriations subcommittee met with the Mississippi State University agricultural units and Alcorn State University School of Agriculture.
  • Ramona Blackledge (District 88 – Jones and Jasper counties) resigned after the House determined that state retirees could not receive a salary from the legislature while drawing state retirement. There will be a special election set by the governor.
  • Hester Jackson McCray (District 40 – DeSoto County) was formally installed as a House member this week. She defeated incumbent Ashely Henley by 14 votes in November, but Henley challenged the election. A special House committee and the full House found the election valid.
  • Several members of the House and Senate worked together to raise $9,000 for the Sale of Champions at the Dixie National Livestock Show & Rodeo on Thursday.