Nissan Expansion, Cal-Maine and MDOT | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Nissan Expansion, Cal-Maine and MDOT

Cal-Maine Foods Inc., a Jackson-based company and the largest egg producer and distributor in the U.S., announced Monday that it lost $3.8 million in its fiscal fourth quarter.

Cal-Maine Foods Inc., a Jackson-based company and the largest egg producer and distributor in the U.S., announced Monday that it lost $3.8 million in its fiscal fourth quarter. Photo by Courtesy Flickr/Gottsab

Nissan Plant Expands

Nissan North America Inc. announced an expansion of its vehicle assembly plant in Canton this morning at an outdoor event at the Nissan Parkway near the plant. Gov. Phil Bryant attended the event. The expansion is expected to add 400 jobs to the plant's current total of about 5,200.

Mississippi lawmakers approved a bill earlier this year allowing the Madison County Economic Development Authority to use $100 million in bonds toward the construction of buildings for suppliers of the Nissan plant. Lawmakers had estimated the suppliers could create 800 to 1,000 jobs.

The Canton plant, which was built to focus on trucks, makes seven types of vehicles, including Sentra sedans that began production at the plant this summer. The new expansion will bring the total to eight. Nissan announced in January that it would produce the Murano crossover vehicle in Canton starting in late 2014.

Cal-Maine Announces Quarterly Loss

Cal-Maine Foods Inc., a Jackson-based company and the largest egg producer and distributor in the U.S., announced Monday that it lost $3.8 million in its fiscal fourth quarter, due to costs related to a $28 million settlement of an antitrust lawsuit against the company.

The company reported a 6 percent increase in dozens of eggs sold, to 243.3 million, with an 11 percent price increase to $1.28. Its feed costs rose 10 percent to 52.7 cents per dozen eggs.

MDOT Plans for Highway Upkeep

The Mississippi Department of Transportation has started addressing the state's road maintenance crisis by shifting money away from new construction and into the upkeep of more than 27,000 lane-miles, the Associated Press reported.

MDOT leaders said some roads improved through its 1987 road program are 25 years old and are deteriorating.

The difficulties facing MDOT include the cost of asphalt, which has tripled over recent years, and the fact that fuel taxes haven't raised enough revenue for new construction and maintenance.

The state Senate created a task force of lawmakers, business leaders and others to look at highway needs. The task force plans to start gathering public opinion on the state's roads this fall and have a report completed for the 2014 Legislature.

The task force has already found that it will cost $400 million annually to maintain Mississippi highways, but the state is spending only $150 million a year. The development of more efficient vehicles has also depressed Mississippi's consumption-driven motor fuel taxes.

Central District Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall has advocated an increase in the state's fuel tax to bolster MDOT's construction and maintenance budgets. Other MDOT member's have largely opposed Hall's proposal.

Hall said in a statement that the 1987 road program, funded with fuel taxes, made no provision for maintenance, and that MDOT figures show the cost of working on all of the state's roads in need of repair to be at about $960 million.

In Mississippi, drivers pay state and federal taxes of 37.2 cents per gallon of gasoline and 43.2 cents per gallon of diesel, among the lowest in the nation.

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