JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves says a state agency director is backing off of accusations that Reeves and his staff used political pressure to push a highway project near his home.
However, a letter from Department of Transportation director Melinda McGrath says Reeves' staff took the "highly unusual step" of communicating directly with utility providers about the project.
McGrath says that in doing that, Reeves' staff used "political authority" that the transportation department lacks. She says an issue with utilities had the potential to delay work on a project that included widening of Mississippi Highway 25 in the Jackson suburb of Flowood.
The highway project once included plans to build a frontage road connecting a shopping area to two gated subdivisions, including one where Reeves lives.