Gov. Barbour: Four-laning of Highway 9 critical

Gov. Haley Barbour visited the Daily Journal office today to talk mostly about the budget. We also asked him about the $422.9 million bond bill that was passed yesterday by the state legislature.

Among the provisions is $50 million for highway improvements, including $40 million for four-laning Highway 9 from north of Toyota’s Blue Springs plant to Highway 348.

Excerpt of what Barbour said:

“If we want to have suppliers up 45 above Tupelo in Prentiss County, Alcorn, Tishomingo and south of Tippah, these suppliers generally use some kind of just-in-time delivery …. they’re going to have to have better roads…”

Barbour said that the 4-laning of Highway 9 to 348 will provide a truck route for the suppliers, who won’t have to rumble down 45 and hop on 78 toward the Toyota plant.

“Drivers won’t like it,” Barbour said if those trucks don’t have that access road. “And it would be hard on the suppliers.”

He said that the four-laning is the “cheapest alternative route – cheaper than a bypass around Tupelo.”

As for Highway 348, Barbour said it’s sufficient for now.

Barbour also said that he will decide about running for President of the United States at the end of April.

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Read more about Barbour’s visit in Tuesday’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.

Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal