Editorials

The road to more tourism needs some work

Most of our visitors to the Coast arrive by car, so the roads leading to South Mississippi are also important.
Most of our visitors to the Coast arrive by car, so the roads leading to South Mississippi are also important.

The pieces of the South Mississippi puzzle are falling into place. Our casinos are thriving. We are building more family-friendly venues. We have big plans for the future.

But there is one piece missing. Roads.

We don't have enough of them. And those we have are at risk.

We essentially have two east-west routes on the Coast: U.S. 90 and I-10. The need for more is evident every spring when young people and police barricades flock to the beach. It's even more evident in the fall when Cruisin' The Coast takes over 90.

Both are welcome events and the police are to be commended for handling the inevitable traffic snarls. But if we want to grow, and grow our tourism market, we have to do better.

It's long been a dream to have more east-west roads. It's been a dream to have more routes from the beach to I-10. It's time to wake from those dreams and get them done.

And many of the roads we have could use a little TLC. Imagine the shape they'd be in if we had not received billions in Katrina disaster aid.

And it's not just the roads on the Coast. The roads leading to the Coast are just as important because most of our visitors come by car.

The Mississippi Economic Council came up with a plan for roads but anti-tax forces waylaid it in the Legislature. We agree MDOT could be more efficient, and there is likely savings to be achieved by eliminating waste and streamlining the road-building process.

That can be part of the plan. But we should be willing to invest to keep the roads in shape.

For many visitors, the highway is their introduction to our state. We must keep the potholes out of that welcome mat.

This editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.

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