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Hood investigates road project near Reeves' subdivision

Tate Reeves | Photo: Tate Reeves/Facebook

The Mississippi attorney general said Wednesday he's investigating a $2 million road that was planned to connect a suburban Jackson shopping center to two gated neighborhoods, including one where the lieutenant governor lives.

Posted: Jul 19, 2018 9:39 AM
Updated: Jul 19, 2018 9:47 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi attorney general said Wednesday he's investigating a $2 million road that was planned to connect a suburban Jackson shopping center to two gated neighborhoods, including one where the lieutenant governor lives.

The investigation creates a potential clash between Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood and Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves. Both men are expected to run for governor in 2019.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation put the road on hold after the Clarion Ledger reported last week that the project had been planned. The short stretch was supposed to run parallel to Mississippi 25 in the Jackson suburb of Flowood. The heavily traveled highway is also called Lakeland Drive in that area, and people who live in the gated neighborhoods have said it can be difficult to turn left onto Lakeland.

The transportation department's director, Melinda McGrath, told the newspaper there had been "political pressure" from "the Senate side" to build the frontage road. Reeves presides over the Senate.

Hood sent letters to the department and lawmakers Wednesday telling them not to destroy any paper or electronic documents about the proposed road. He also requests copies of all communication, including text messages and email, by Aug. 1.

"The purpose of this investigation is to determine whether there exist any violations of law," Hood wrote to Reeves, lawmakers and elected transportation commissioners. "One of the many potential outcomes of the ongoing investigation could be civil litigation or other legal proceedings arising under state law."

McGrath, who is appointed and not elected, said much of the communication from the Capitol to her department was verbal. The newspaper reported Reeves' staff and his neighborhood's property owners association communicated with the department about the road.

Reeves last week denied pressuring the department, and sent a letter to McGrath seeking details about political pressure on the department.

Reeves said in a statement Wednesday that Hood is playing "political games" and that "grandstanding for the press is one his favorite pastimes."

"I have not been made aware of any communication between anyone within the office of the Lt. Governor and the Department of Transportation suggesting political pressure on this matter," Reeves said.

The central district transportation commissioner, Republican Dick Hall, said last week that was putting the road project on hold. Hall said he originally decided to build the frontage road because he thought it might be needed for safety.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 295295

Reported Deaths: 6724
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19672230
Hinds18799386
Harrison16710278
Rankin12685264
Jackson12592226
Lee9687160
Madison9457199
Jones7962146
Forrest7208136
Lauderdale6833226
Lowndes6022137
Lamar588080
Lafayette5733113
Washington5218130
Bolivar4609123
Oktibbeha441393
Panola430394
Pearl River4167130
Warren4129114
Pontotoc408869
Marshall403192
Monroe3989126
Union395374
Neshoba3807168
Lincoln3541102
Hancock347374
Leflore3375118
Sunflower318386
Tate302474
Pike300195
Scott293870
Alcorn291861
Itawamba289975
Yazoo289262
Tippah278765
Copiah277857
Coahoma277568
Simpson274878
Prentiss269758
Wayne253841
Marion252678
Leake252471
Covington248879
Grenada247377
Adams234377
George231745
Newton229652
Winston221675
Jasper213445
Tishomingo212365
Attala206569
Chickasaw201151
Holmes182270
Clay179150
Stone172429
Tallahatchie170539
Clarke169371
Calhoun157828
Smith152731
Yalobusha144836
Greene127633
Walthall124140
Noxubee122829
Montgomery122438
Perry121634
Lawrence120321
Carroll118225
Amite111533
Webster110630
Jefferson Davis101731
Tunica99023
Claiborne98429
Benton93324
Humphreys92827
Kemper90223
Quitman77114
Franklin76119
Choctaw69516
Jefferson62527
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 493769

Reported Deaths: 9931
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson710731374
Mobile36139727
Madison32425455
Tuscaloosa24184410
Montgomery22586500
Shelby21968215
Baldwin19758283
Lee14967153
Morgan13667251
Calhoun13300286
Etowah13184319
Marshall11262209
Houston10104261
Elmore9385185
Limestone9363134
Cullman8897181
St. Clair8827223
Lauderdale8607211
DeKalb8459175
Talladega7523163
Walker6524255
Jackson6495102
Autauga627091
Blount6102127
Colbert6004118
Coffee5249102
Dale4642107
Russell404930
Franklin399177
Covington3960106
Chilton3876100
Escambia377672
Tallapoosa3588142
Clarke343650
Chambers3413110
Dallas3403141
Pike293472
Lawrence283484
Marion281995
Winston246867
Bibb245060
Geneva239970
Marengo236455
Pickens224654
Barbour211651
Hale210568
Fayette200756
Butler196866
Henry182441
Cherokee177038
Monroe166139
Randolph163740
Washington156535
Crenshaw144854
Clay144454
Macon142043
Cleburne137839
Lamar132833
Lowndes131151
Wilcox121825
Bullock116936
Conecuh106724
Perry105627
Sumter98531
Coosa88923
Greene88232
Choctaw55123
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