- Associated Press - Thursday, August 10, 2017

PHILADELPHIA, Miss. (AP) - A tight state budget has prompted Mississippi transportation commissioners to cancel a highway project.

Commission chairman Dick Hall says in a news release Thursday that the state can’t afford the estimated $130 million to build a bypass around Philadelphia.

Transportation commissioners on Tuesday canceled contracts for the Highway 16 bypass, which was designed to ease commercial vehicle traffic in downtown Philadelphia.

Commissioners instead will spend money to repair existing roads and bridges that are in bad shape.

Hall says the Mississippi Department of Transportation needs an additional $400 million a year. Legislators have rejected proposals to increase the gasoline tax to put more money into highways and bridges.

Department of Transportation director Melinda McGrath says officials intend to maintain existing routes before adding new ones.

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