JACKSON — Existing contracts on the Philadelphia bypass project were terminated by the state Transportation Commission on Wednesday because of the lack of long-term funding.

“The decision to postpone the Philadelphia Bypass project came after much discussion on moving forward with a new highway while the state has deteriorating roads and bridges that need immediate attention,” said Commissioner Dick Hall, chairman, MTC.

“A project of this scale is estimated to cost $130 million. The bottom line is the state does not have adequate funding available to continue to move forward with this project while state-owned roads and bridges are continuing to deteriorate faster than they can be repaired.”

Also known as the Philadelphia Bypass, the project on State Route 16, from State Route 15 to State Route 19, was developed to remove commercial vehicle traffic from the downtown Philadelphia area. The bypass would have added more capacity to existing roadways.

Economic developers say more businesses and industries have not located to this area because of the lack of adequate infrastructure to carry additional commercial traffic.

“While MDOT is committed to providing a safe and efficient transportation network for the traveling public, MDOT cannot keep constructing new road projects at the detriment of the existing system,” said Melinda McGrath, Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) executive director.

“There isn’t enough money to maintain the current transportation infrastructure in a state of good repair, but we have to try to reach that goal before we focus on expanding the highway system.”

“I know how important this project is to the local community, from both a safety and economic development perspective,” Hall said. “However, MDOT must place all available funds toward preserving Mississippi’s existing highway system while also being good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars. In order to meet the increasing needs of Mississippi’s transportation infrastructure, including capacity projects such as the Philadelphia Bypass, MDOT needs an additional $400 million per year.”

For more information and transparency documents on MDOT projects and funding, visit www.GoMDOT.com.