Jefferson City – This week, Governor Mike Parson visited 5 of the 250 bridges scheduled for immediate repair or replacement if his administration’s proposed funding program is passed by the Missouri General Assembly this year. The Governor first outlined the statewide bridge infrastructure program in the State of the State address on January 16.
On Thursday, Governor Parson visited bridges in Fenton, St. Clair, and St. James as part of his “Focus on Bridges” proposal. Yesterday, he made stops in Kansas City and Hannibal. Missouri has 922 bridges in poor condition throughout the state, and the Governor’s proposal would accelerate the repair or replacement of 250 of those bridges, in turn freeing up funding for additional transportation projects across the entire state.
“Missouri has one of the nation’s largest highway systems with one of the lowest levels of funding in the country – it is now time to fix Missouri’s infrastructure needs,” Governor Mike Parson said. “Our plan to address Missouri’s critical infrastructure needs, funded through budget savings, will accelerate more than $1 billion worth of local projects with no new tax dollars.”
The proposal would enable the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Office of Administration to enter a financing agreement to fund 250 bridge projects – bridges that are already programmed for repair or replacement in the state’s current five-year construction program. The proposal is set up to supplement existing transportation revenue with general revenue to pay off the debt. The resolution also calls for the bond proceeds to be deposited into the State Road Fund – meaning the funds will be constitutionally protected and regularly audited to ensure they are only used for state road and bridge projects.
Accelerating 250 bridge projects and freeing additional funding for statewide transportation projects will create jobs throughout the state and boost the state’s economy.
Senator Dave Schatz has proposed a Senate concurrent resolution to establish the program. The resolution recently passed out of committee with no opposition.
“Taking seriously the needs of Missouri roads and bridges is vital to the success of our local communities through attracting businesses and ensuring the safety of Missourians,” Senator Schatz said. “The Governor’s plan is an important step to address our state’s critical infrastructure needs, and I’m proud to sponsor his bold proposal.”
“I applaud the Governor for presenting an innovative approach to address our critical infrastructure needs across the entire state,” Senator Paul Wieland said. “These long term investments will help to accelerate and boost local infrastructure priorities and projects with no new tax dollars. Thanks to the Governor’s leadership on infrastructure, our state will move forward.”
“I appreciate Governor Parson’s leadership to focus on bridges across our entire state,” Senator Justin Brown said. “Prioritizing and addressing key infrastructure projects, without using new tax dollars, is a wise investment that will benefit Missourians for generations.”
Missouri has 10,385 bridges on the state highway system – sixth most in the nation. Of that total, 922 are in poor condition, and 1,194 are weight restricted (450 fall into both categories).