Republicans propose $100M plan for highway and bridge repair

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JEFFERSON CITY - A new plan in the Missouri House could fund roads and bridges, but at the expense of other programs.

State Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage, proposed the plan that would allocate $100 million for road and bridge maintenance.

0Instead of drawing funds from the gas tax and other designated road funding sources, however, this plan would borrow funding from general tax revenue. General tax revenue funds programs like higher education, prescription drug benefit programs and public defenders.

In a statement, Smith said this plan would give a significant amount of money to road repairs without raising taxes or increasing state debt.

"I've taken this new approach because I believe it is the most fiscally responsible solution for the taxpayers of Missouri," he said.

This would be the first time in the nearly 100-year existence of the state road fund that money would be drawn from general tax revenue, according to Rep. Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia. 

Kendrick said he's unsure if $100 millon will have enough of an impact in the long term.

"It really doesn't do a lot to address the current issues with MoDOT, with road and bridge infrastructure," he said. "$100 million is not going to go very far."

Kendrick also expressed his displeasure in taking the funding from programs and services that rely on general tax revenue.

The plan will need to be approved once more in the House before it can move on to the Senate.