Sherlock Holmes and fuel taxes

It’s no surprise that the Mississippi House and Senate appear unable to agree on how to put more money into highways, since both chambers proposed ideas that tried to find the money indirectly.

Legislative leaders said it looks like the only extra money that will come out of this year’s session is up to $50 million in borrowed funds for the replacement of bridges.

When it comes to finding money for highway maintenance, the Legislature is writing a Sherlock Holmes novel. The famed literary detective was fond of saying that if you keep eliminating possible solutions to a crime, the only one remaining must be the answer, no matter how improbable it seems.

That sums up the state of highway financing. The Legislature is slowly eliminating its improbable funding ideas. Soon enough — perhaps in 2020, after the next elections — the only remaining solution will be the correct one, and that is increasing the state fuel tax.