Bridge bonding? House Budget Committee considers
In April, the Missouri Senate approved a measure to provide a funding boost to transportation infrastructure repairs in Missouri. Now the legislation, Senate Concurrent Resolution 14 sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan), has been passed on to the House.
The plan, initiated by Gov. Mike Parson, would allow the state to borrow $301 million for transportation needs if Missouri receives funding through the federal Infrastructure for Rebuilding America program.
That federal INFRA grant application MoDOT recently submitted hinges on the need to replace the Rocheport Bridge on I-70, which was a main focus of discussion at a House Budget Committee hearing on May 1.
“[The Rocheport Bridge] is a critical chokepoint along that route. You cannot get freight from Kansas City to St. Louis, east or west, without going over the Rocheport Bridge,” said Schatz. “There are many ways into Kansas City and into St. Louis. But going across the Rocheport Bridge moving freight between the two, unless you take that route, would be a long and arduous process.”
MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna emphasized the importance of funding repairs to the deteriorating system of bridges across Missouri, with Rocheport Bridge as a critical example.
“We are, as a department, really moving to any available resource — whether it’s state, federal or otherwise — to try to move toward a replacement of Rocheport Bridge because of its significance to transportation at work in the economy here in the state, as well as, as Sen. Schatz said, the entire commercial trucking industry nationwide,” said McKenna.
Ross Lien, Missouri Chamber director of legislative affairs, voiced the Chamber’s support for the measure.
“We think this is a great first step in addressing our transportation needs across the state,” Lien said.