Mr. Haahr returns from Washington, D.C. after attending President’s infrastructure rollout
Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr flew to Washington, D.C. on Sunday, after receiving a call late last week from the White House, inviting him to attend the President’s rollout of his infrastructure package as one of 25 or so elected officials from several states.
President Donald Trump’s 53-page plan seeks to turn $200 billion in federal money into $1.5 trillion to repair and upgrade the country’s infrastructure by leveraging local and state tax dollars as well as private investments.
Haahr headed to the White House at 10 a.m. on Monday, where he joined a roundtable consisting of the governors from Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia, New Mexico, and Wisconsin, as well as mayors of several major cities and House Speakers from Utah, Georgia, and Iowa, along with several Cabinet members.
“Ryan Zinke from the Secretary of the Interior was there, Scott Pruitt from the EPA, Elaine Chao, Gary Cohn, and Ivanka Trump was there,” Haahr said. “We had about a 45-minute informal discussion prior to the President’s arrival where we went around and introduced ourselves and put a spotlight on one or two state-centered projects that we wanted to discuss, that we thought was important to our states and needed help in the infrastructure plan.”
For Haahr, his emphasis was placed on I-49 – the Missouri/Arkansas Connector – and I-270.
“I-49 runs all the way from New Orleans to Kansas City, but there’s a 19-mile stretch, a little bit on the Arkansas side and a little on Missouri’s side, where 49 ends and the roads don’t meet highway standards,” Haahr said. “It’s very beneficial to southwest Missouri because it would connect the Bentonville area with Joplin, but also in general, it would help with trucking. It’s a huge deal for southwest Missouri and really Missouri in general.”
He also highlighted the need to address the roads and traffic for I-270 and noted that the Show-Me State serves as the crossroads of the nation, with I-44, I-70, and I-49 all cutting across the state.
“The infrastructure plan will probably affect our state more than others,” he said. “But there was a lot of discussion about the problems others were having with right-of-ways, length of time it takes to get permits, regulations, and some EPA issues.”
After that, the President came in and spoke for about 15 minutes, took some Q&A from around the table, and took about 30 minutes to discuss the projects of each state before wrapping up.