Madison County will receive $8 million for construction of a Reunion Parkway bridge over I-55.

That comes after the state House and Senate compromised on a Senate bill Wednesday that divvies up $700 million in BP oil settlement money during a special session.

The bridge is needed in anticipation of a future interchange. Considered Reunion Parkway Phase II, the road and bridge would run from where Reunion ends at Bozeman Road and extend the roadway to Parkway East, which is east of I-55.

Reunion Phase II, which is currently under design, will connect Parkway East with U.S. 51 further east.

Once the bridge is built it would be up to the Mississippi Department of Transportation to build interchange ramps connecting the Parkway to I-55.

David Bishop, District 4 supervisor for Madison County, was elated Wednesday afternoon when he heard the news.

“This is a great day for Madison County,” he exclaimed.

House members continued to meet in special session Wednesday to discuss the use of BP oil spill settlement funds to the tune of $700 million following passage of the Senate bill that earmarked the majority of those funds for the Gulf Coast.

The plan calls for 75 percent of the settlement money to be spent on projects promoting economic development.

“Seventy-five percent is to be spent for projects administered by the Mississippi Development Authority and approved by the legislature in the six coastal counties,” State Rep. Cory Wilson of Madison explained. “The other 25 percent goes into another fund and that money will be spent around the state on infrastructure.”

The $700 million is part of a $2.4 billion settlement with BP stemming from the 2010 oil spill. The state has received $150 million, but only spent approximately $50 million.

Thanks in part to work at the beginning of the special session, Madison County is poised to receive almost $1 million a year generated from online sales tax following passage of the Mississippi Infrastructure Modernization Act of 2018.

Wilson said Ridgeland will receive an estimated $1.1 million, Madison will receive approximately $850,000, and Flora will receive $60,000.

The money will only be allowed to be spent on infrastructure improvements. The first payments will be made from the January sales tax diversion and for the first four years, one-fourth of the total will be made. It will be fully enacted in four years.

Under House Bill 1, an estimated $120 million will be collected from use tax (seven percent online sales tax on purchases from out of state). The bill will divert 35 percent of the collections from the state county governments and municipalities. The bill also puts a tax on hybrid vehicles and diverts an estimated $5 million to $15 million from sports betting on infrastructure needs.

“I strongly supported HB1 because it puts significant new funding into local roads and bridges and allows for local decision making,” Wilson said.

The House voted 108-5 to pass the bill, with State Rep. Joel Bomgar one of the handful voting against the measure.

Bomgar was in session Wednesday and unavailable for comment, however, on his website he gave his reason for voting agains the bill.

“This bill diverts significant funds raised from a variety of sources to roads and bridges, which I support,” Bomgar wrote. “Unfortunately, the bill also levies two new taxes on hybrid and electronic vehicles, and authorizes hundreds of millions of dollars in new state borrowing.”

He added he disagrees with borrowing more money for projects.

House Bill 1 does call for $300 million in state bonds to be issued for transportation needs. The debt will be paid off with future casino gambling tax revenues. The bulk of the money — $250 million — will be spent on emergency transportation projects, with the final $50 million pooled into a fund for projects to be determined by the legislature.