Parson proposes $351M bond for bridges

1 year 8 months 4 days ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 9:29:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
By: The Associated Press
loading

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is proposing a $351 million bond to repair or replace 250 bridges across the state, a pitch he made to lawmakers Wednesday during his first State of the State speech since taking over when his predecessor resigned in scandal last year.

Parson's plan comes after Missouri voters in November shot down a proposed 10-cent-a-gallon increase in the gas tax to pay for road and bridge repairs. Parson toured the state to try to persuade voters to pass the gas tax increase, and he's repeatedly cited improving the state's infrastructure as a top priority.

"Over the years, we have seen proposals go before the voters and fail, but this cannot and does not mean we are expected to do nothing," Parson said in prepared remarks . "This is why I am asking you to consider an infrastructure plan. While funded through our budget savings, it will give us the ability to begin immediate work on nearly 250 bridges across the state of Missouri all in need of critical repair or replacement."

State Budget Director Dan Haug told reporters that the bonding would be paid back with about $30 million in general revenue each year for 15 years. He said this is the first time general revenue would be used to help pay for roads and bridges. The state typically uses earmarked road funds.

All the bridges already are in the state's five-year construction program. That means the bonds would free up existing highway funds to be used for other projects.

Missouri has an estimated $8 billion shortfall over 10 years in its transportation needs, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation. The bonding plan won't wipe that out and the failed gas-tax increase also wouldn't have eliminated it.

"This is about positive movement forward, solving some of the problems," said department Director Patrick McKenna.

The plan won praise from backers of last year's failed gas tax proposal.

"It's not the long-term fix to transportation that we're looking for, but it is a short-term opportunity for us," said Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, who as a lawmaker pushed to put the gas tax on the ballot last year.

Parson also is proposing to use $50 million in state funds for a cost-share program for local road projects that would provide economic benefits.

In his budget plan released Wednesday, Haug said the governor recommended keeping core funding for the state's colleges and universities flat while giving K-12 public schools a roughly $61 million increase next year compared to this fiscal year, which would meet funding goals outlined in state law. That's on top of another $10 million the governor wants to spend on K-12 transportation.

Parson also proposed a new $22 million grant program that could cover up to four semesters of tuition for 16,000 adults annually to get degrees in high-needs areas such as nursing, information technology and other yet-to-be-identified fields.

The budget outlined Wednesday by Parson also would shut down Crossroads Correctional Center in Cameron.

Prisoners and staff would be transferred to Western Missouri Correctional Center, which is also located in Cameron. The savings from the consolidation would help fund pay raises for Department of Corrections personnel above the 3 percent increase proposed for all state workers.

Parson left $120 million unbudgeted for unexpected expenses.

This is Parson's first time outlining a proposed budget and delivering a State of the State address to Missouri's Republican-led Legislature.

This time last year, Parson was serving as lieutenant governor. He took over in June after former Republican Gov. Eric Greitens resigned in the face of potential impeachment over allegations of sexual and political misconduct.

Parson has worked to strike a markedly different tone than Greitens, who openly fought with fellow Republican lawmakers.

Unlike Greitens, Parson previously served as a state lawmaker. That could ease his efforts working with the Legislature to enact his policy priorities into law this session.

"It's always nice to work with somebody who understands that we're three coequal branches of government," Republican House Speaker Elijah Haahr said after Parson spoke. "The biggest thing is trying to figure out where our priorities line up."

But Parson hasn't won over everyone. Democratic Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh in a prepared response to Parson's speech called for an end to Republican-backed policies that Greitens pushed, such as efforts to enact right-to-work legislation banning mandatory union dues and a recent tax code overhaul.

"Simply being better than Eric Greitens is too low a bar to set for any of our leaders, too low for the kind of change we need," Walsh said. "Missouri deserves better."

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade after Parson's speech said he "highlighted a lot of programs that the Democrats care about, but he neglected to say how he planned to pay for it."

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA- Columbia police responded to a report of a robbery around 11:45 p.m. Saturday in the 700 block of Seventh... More >>
8 minutes ago Monday, September 21 2020 Sep 21, 2020 Monday, September 21, 2020 2:53:00 PM CDT September 21, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- Gov. Mike Parson signed HB66 and HB46 into law Monday. HB66 will create a Pretrial Witness Protection... More >>
1 hour ago Monday, September 21 2020 Sep 21, 2020 Monday, September 21, 2020 1:47:00 PM CDT September 21, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - After months of debate about whether or not a Missouri football season would even happen, it's finally game... More >>
1 hour ago Monday, September 21 2020 Sep 21, 2020 Monday, September 21, 2020 1:31:00 PM CDT September 21, 2020 in News
MISSOURI - While parents prepared to send their students back to school during a pandemic, local school districts prepared by... More >>
1 hour ago Monday, September 21 2020 Sep 21, 2020 Monday, September 21, 2020 1:27:00 PM CDT September 21, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- Ellen DeGeneres returned to the studio for the season premiere of talk show and addressed allegations of a... More >>
1 hour ago Monday, September 21 2020 Sep 21, 2020 Monday, September 21, 2020 1:03:00 PM CDT September 21, 2020 in News
Washington (AP) - The body of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will lie in repose at the Supreme Court this week,... More >>
3 hours ago Monday, September 21 2020 Sep 21, 2020 Monday, September 21, 2020 11:21:01 AM CDT September 21, 2020 in News
NORMANDY, Mo. (AP) — Police in suburban St. Louis say a man was fatally shot over the weekend at an... More >>
3 hours ago Monday, September 21 2020 Sep 21, 2020 Monday, September 21, 2020 11:09:56 AM CDT September 21, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - City of Columbia Finance Director Matthew Lue said there will be major changes to the 2021 budget after... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, September 21 2020 Sep 21, 2020 Monday, September 21, 2020 9:34:00 AM CDT September 21, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. Previous coverage: ... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, September 21 2020 Sep 21, 2020 Monday, September 21, 2020 9:02:00 AM CDT September 21, 2020 in News
MU adds casing to protect Thomas Jefferson tombstone A clear casing was added to Thomas Jefferson's tombstone at... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, September 21 2020 Sep 21, 2020 Monday, September 21, 2020 4:42:00 AM CDT September 21, 2020 in Top Stories
HOWARD COUNTY - After four elections running unopposed for the Howard County coroner's position, Frank Flaspohler faces new opposition this... More >>
15 hours ago Sunday, September 20 2020 Sep 20, 2020 Sunday, September 20, 2020 11:07:00 PM CDT September 20, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — Heading into the 2020 season, the Battle Spartans had their share of concerns starting the season during the... More >>
18 hours ago Sunday, September 20 2020 Sep 20, 2020 Sunday, September 20, 2020 8:23:00 PM CDT September 20, 2020 in Sports
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Health officials say a Chiefs fan who tested positive for COVID-19 one day after attending... More >>
22 hours ago Sunday, September 20 2020 Sep 20, 2020 Sunday, September 20, 2020 4:44:24 PM CDT September 20, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - A clear casing was added to Thomas Jefferson's tombstone at MU Saturday night. The acrylic vitrine covering... More >>
22 hours ago Sunday, September 20 2020 Sep 20, 2020 Sunday, September 20, 2020 4:25:00 PM CDT September 20, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. Previous coverage: ... More >>
23 hours ago Sunday, September 20 2020 Sep 20, 2020 Sunday, September 20, 2020 3:11:00 PM CDT September 20, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Downtown Columbia nightclub Nash Vegas had its operating permit suspended Friday night due to several health violations, according... More >>
23 hours ago Sunday, September 20 2020 Sep 20, 2020 Sunday, September 20, 2020 3:06:00 PM CDT September 20, 2020 in News
LAKE OF THE OZARKS - The Missouri State Highway Patrol said divers found the body of 73-year-old Dennis Jaeger at... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, September 20 2020 Sep 20, 2020 Sunday, September 20, 2020 2:04:00 PM CDT September 20, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Police are investigating a shooting incident that left four people injured. According to the Jefferson City... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, September 20 2020 Sep 20, 2020 Sunday, September 20, 2020 7:00:00 AM CDT September 20, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 75°
3pm 77°
4pm 77°
5pm 77°
6pm 74°