As Ranking Member, Miss. Senator Played Key Role in Writing FY2024 Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today highlighted benefits for Mississippi included in a FY2024 transportation and housing appropriations measure, including a significant change to make rural Mississippi roadways safer by allowing certain logging trucks to use interstate highways.

Hyde-Smith voted for final passage of the FY2024 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) Appropriations Bill, which she played a key role in writing as the ranking Republican on the Senate T-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee.  The measure, approved as part of a six-bill package, now heads to the President to be signed into law.

“The hard work we put into this T-HUD appropriations measure will benefit Mississippi and the nation.  It is fiscally responsible, trimming the fat where necessary, while bolstering priorities that are more deserving of taxpayer dollars,” Hyde-Smith said.

Hyde-Smith secured a provision to increase the weight limitations for certain agricultural vehicles on the interstate in Mississippi, lifting a prohibition that forced large trucks to operate only on state and county roadways.

Under this provision, vehicles with a Mississippi State Harvest Permit that are transporting agricultural products, such as grain and timber, will be allowed to haul up to the existing state limit of 88,000 pounds on an interstate highway within the borders of Mississippi.

“This provision corrects a discrepancy between state and federal statute that for too long has forced large trucks onto narrow, poorly lit, and often less-maintained roads, just to get to the port, rail yard or lumber mill,” Hyde-Smith said.  “Removing these heavy trucks from Mississippi’s state and rural roads is a matter of safety, and I think this needed change will improve public safety and commerce in our state.”

Among the items of interest to Mississippi in the FY2024 T-HUD Appropriations Bill:

Department of Transportation 

  • $8.17 million for the Rosedale-Bolivar County Port Commission Multimodal Expansion
  • $3 million for the Harrison County Development Commission to construct a Seaway Rail Truck site
  • $3.1 million for MS 2 Connector in Tippah County to be extended to provide better connectivity
  • $2.5 million for Noxubee County Deerbrook Road and bridge improvements
  • $2 million for Delta State University Statesmen Park Boulevard improvements 
  • $1.8 million for the City of Cleveland airport improvements 
  • $1.5 million for Monroe County airport runway extension  
  • $1.0 million for Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indian Campus Drive improvements

Department of Housing and Urban Development

  • $3.75 million for Jackson Hinds Library System Eudora Welty Library to renovate and relocate the capitol’s headquarters library
  • $3 million for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast for a workforce development center
  • $2.7 million for Tougaloo College’s Archives and Research Center
  • $2.2 million for Columbus Redevelopment Authority ParkView Urban Renewal Project for a mixed-use development
  • $1.0 million for the Town of Utica Police Station

Nationally, the measure funds grant programs used by Mississippi cities and counties, including RAISE grants, Essential Air Service grants, Airport Improvement Program grants, and Community Development Block Grants.  Through the Federal Highway Administration, the bill also provides $250 million for a new bridge bundling program targeted at rural states, for which Mississippi is eligible.

The FY2024 T-HUD measure adheres to the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, which capped discretionary funding and made other reforms to reduce the budget deficit by roughly $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years.  The final T-HUD bill cuts $3.24 billion from the FY2023 enacted funding levels across 19 U.S. DOT and HUD programs.   

Additionally, the bill also bans the U.S. DOT from enforcing COVID-19 mask mandates on public transportation.