Taxpayers shouldn't pay for bridge

I am writing to inform citizens of Meridian about the city's plan to fix or upgrade the bridge located past the Pilot truck stop on James Chaney Road, formerly 49th Avenue, that becomes Valley Road after leaving the city.

This bridge leads only to Atlas Roofing. I was a member of the citizens coalition to keep Valley Road Open. We raised money for attorneys and petitioned the court to prevent the closing of this public road. Unfortunately, Atlas Roofing won the case and subsequently the road was closed. Atlas Roofing installed an electronic gate with the promise to citizens that they would open the road in the event of any emergency.

The only access to Valley Road now from the north is by way of 29th Avenue, which goes up over what locals call Sand Mountain and down a steep and winding road and up another hill and then down another very steep section and before dead ending at Valley Road.

A few years ago there was a considerable accumulation of snow, resulting in several accidents on the steep slopes of 29th Avenue. Atlas Roofing was called and it refused to open its gate during the weather emergency. It would not open the gate for its own employees who could not make it up the snow covered hill of this section of 29th Avenue.

Now, the subject is the bridge, which benefits only Atlas Roofing. It is their heavy 18-wheel trucks that have caused damage to the bridge that crosses Sowashee Creek. Why should the citizens of Meridian pay for the bridge repair when we the people don't travel over this bridge? 

Please inform your friends and neighbors that the city should not use tax money from our hard-earned salaries to repair a bridge used only by a private entity. Neither should Lauderdale County or Mississippi taxpayers foot the repair for this bridge.

Please contact your representatives and tell them you do not want to pay for a bridge that is not used by the public. Say no to this corporate welfare.

March 19, I saw that the south gate was opened and that tractor trailers were using 29th Avenue to connect to Interstate 20/59. So I drove to the 49th Avenue/James Chaney exit and went to the bridge and discovered it's closed. It looks as if bridge repairs may be imminent.

Now is the time for action. 

Marty McCann

Meridian

America needs affordable child care

It’s hard to believe how behind our country is on access to high-quality, affordable child care. More than half of all Americans live in child-care deserts and, for those who can access care, the cost is more than other major household expenses, including housing. Families can’t afford to pay any more for child care, yet the early childhood workforce is already paid low wages.

But what’s President Trump’s solution? Let’s make it harder for families to afford care AND rollback safety standards!

The president’s budget includes significant cuts to programs that help working families living paycheck-to-paycheck. And his childcare plan only pays lip-service to what parents really need by rolling back common sense safety regulations – like covering electrical outlets – that keep kids safe. No parent asked for that! This isn’t a solution, just a bigger mess.

We can do better. Our Congressional leaders need to ignore this ridiculous Trump plan and support real solutions, like the Child Care for Working Families Act! This bill invests in quality AND improves affordability to make sure all families can afford high-quality child care, and that the workforce earns a living wage.

LaShanda Warren

Meridian

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