I-70 expansion bill signing ceremonies
August 16, 2023 - Governor Mike Parson, joined by Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe, Senator Lincoln Hough, other state and local public officials, and business leaders held ceremonial bill signings of HB 4, the budget bill that funds the Interstate 70 project and additional road projects across the state, in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Columbia on Monday and Tuesday this week.
Associated Industries of Missouri and the Missouri Transportation and Development Council joined a broad coalition called "Missourians For Transportation Investment (MFTI)" in leading the effort to pass the funding necessary to rebuild and expand Interstate 70 to six lanes statewide. The MFTI includes representatives from the trucking industry, business advocates, local governments, unions, engineers and road construction contractors.
One of the first steps in the push to fix Interstate 70 was taken when the group met with Governor Mike Parson in January, 2023, to discuss the project. At that meeting, Governor Parson announced his support for nearly $900 million in funding for key parts of the I-70 project, noting at the time it was his hope and belief additional funding would be secured in future years to complete the entire project. As the governor noted in his comments at the bill signing ceremony, Senator Lincoln Hough, Senate Appropriations Chairman, decided to include full funding for the entire project using currently available revenue and bonding. Ultimately, the House agreed and the funding was approved by Gov. Parson before the deadline to take action on bills.
"The Missouri Transportation and Development Council (MTD) and Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM) have been working to provide funding for improving and maintaining roads since 1920," said Ray McCarty, president of AIM. "This landmark effort required strong leadership by Governor Parson, legislative leaders and key leaders in the private sector, including MTD Chairman Rod Reid, Morgan Mundell of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Missouri, Jeff Glenn (MFTI), Len Toenjes (AGC of Missouri) and many, many others. Efforts like this that bring together forces that are not always in agreement, such as labor and business leaders, are great examples of what may be accomplished when everyone works together for the good of us all," said McCarty.
McCarty said the effort began near the end of the 2022 Legislative Session when Mundell, Toenjes, and Glenn approached McCarty with a plan to use excess state revenue to rebuild and expand Interstate 70. I-70 was chosen because preparatory work had been completed for much of the project and the only missing piece was funding - of course a critical piece of the puzzle.
"What began as a conversation on a rainy night on High Street in Jefferson City ended with the realization of a once-in-a-lifetime investment that will produce benefits that will make the roads safer for all of us and our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren," McCarty said. "We were proud to be a part of this effort from the very beginning and are so grateful to everyone involved, particularly Governor Parson and Senator Lincoln Hough," he said.
The project will take 6-7 years to complete and is estimated to cost $2.8 billion ($1.4 billion in existing revenue and $1.4 billion in bonding authority). Construction will begin very shortly on the first segment between Columbia and Kingdom City.