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Bridge repair plan moves forward

After hitting a roadblock earlier in the week, the Missouri Senate gave initial approval to a plan to improve Missouri’s failing bridges. Associated Industries of Missouri and the Missouri Transportation Development Council support the plan.

The resolution ran into opposition on Tuesday from many senators who filibustered the bill for hours. Several senators questioned the constitutionality of issuing debt without a vote of the people and others the wisdom of issuing debt rather than paying for the repairs through the appropriations process.

On Thursday, a deal was reached that allowed the resolution to move forward.

SCR 14, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, expresses support for issuance of bonds by the Highways and Transportation Commission to pay for construction and repair of 215 bridges on the state highway system, as selected by the Commission, not to exceed $301 million.

This resolution would allow debt service to be paid from future appropriations by the General Assembly from the General Revenue Fund and expresses the intent to appropriate funds in the future in an amount sufficient to pay the debt service on the bonds.

The final agreement would allow the resolution to take effect upon acceptance by the Missouri Department of Transportation of a federal grant for road and bridge purposes.

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