The much-discussed issue of infrastructure needs in the state took a step forward Monday when the Missouri Senate passed a proposal to pay for bridge projects. Lawmakers voted 26 to 7 for a resolution that advances the proposal to the House.
The plan isn’t exactly what Gov. Mike Parson called for but it is progress. The plan calls for the state to pay $50 million upfront to fix 35 bridges. If the state gets a federal matching grant, that would clear the way for Missouri to borrow $250 million to repair another 215 bridges.
The goal is to get a large enough matching grant to help replace the Interstate 70 bridge across the Missouri River at Rocheport.
The plan is a compromise that Gov. Parson agreed to, and will require less bonding and higher debt payments than the governor originally proposed. The proposal is aimed at addressing concerns about taking on debt and interest.
Gov. Parson said he was encouraged by the progress in the Legislature to meet the infrastructure needs in the state without raising taxes. The plan had bipartisan support. If finally passed, the governor said work can begin on the priority list of bridges that need to be repaired or replaced.