Missouri Governor Mike Parson has proposed a program to repair or replace 250 of the state's poor bridges, and visited one of those sites on Route B in Phelps County Thursday.
This week, Governor Parson planned to visit five 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 Jan. 16.
On Thursday, Governor Parson visited Phelps County Route B bridge over Clear Creek as part of his “Focus on Bridges” proposal. 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 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.”
“The Governor’s infrastructure plan provides immediate resources to our local communities for bridge projects most in need of critical repair or replacement,” Senator Tony Luetkemeyer said. “The plan will accelerate more than a billion dollars worth of local priorities, and I appreciate the Governor’s leadership in taking this bold action.”
Missouri has 10,385 bridges on the state highway system – the sixth most in the nation. Of that total, 922 are in poor condition, and 1,194 are weight restricted — 450 fall into both categories.