Mayor suggests emergency to speed infrastructure renewal

Jackson, Mississippi, and San Diego, California, don’t have much in common. But last Tuesday, the city councils in each heard strategies for fixing the system that fixes infrastructure.

While Mayor Tony Yarber of Jackson won the award for boldest proposal — declaring a formal state of emergency — both sessions shone an exacting spotlight on the time-consuming and expensive procurement process that often meets officials who want to maintain and renovate their roads and pipes.

“What we know is that we have infrastructure, critical infrastructure, that is at risk of failing at any time, and that’s all over the place, and we know that because we’ve had upwards of 100 water main breaks since the top of the year,” Yarber said.

“It’s kind of like waiting on the New Madrid fault line to finally start cutting up and the big one to hit. What we want to do is be positioned to be able to address those as soon as possible,” he continued.

A state of emergency could potentially relax procurement laws, and make federal and statewide finances available.

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