AP NEWS

The Latest: Governor praises lawmakers on bridge deal

April 11, 2019

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on legislative work to fund road and bridge repairs in Missouri (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson says he appreciates lawmakers for compromising on how to pay for road and bridge repairs.

Senators on Thursday gave initial approval to a plan to spend $50 million upfront. If the Missouri Department of Transportation is awarded a federal matching grant, that would trigger another roughly $300 million in bonding.

Parson says he would rather the proposal did not depend on action by the federal government. But he says understands that compromise is needed.

Parson in January proposed borrowing $350 million to fix 250 bridges across the state.

That drew pushback, especially from a group of Republican senators who argued against taking on debt and interest.

The Senate deal reduces borrowing and calls for debt to be paid off in seven years, instead of the 15 years of payments that Parson initially proposed.

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2 p.m.

Missouri senators have reached a deal on how to pay to fix 250 bridges across the state.

Senators on Thursday gave initial approval to a plan to spend $50 million upfront. If the Missouri Department of Transportation is awarded a federal matching grant, that would trigger another roughly $300 million in bonding.

Lawmakers have been split on how to pay to repair roads and bridges after voters in November defeated a proposed 10-cent gas tax hike for transportation.

Republican Gov. Mike Parson proposed borrowing about $350 million for bridges. But some Republicans complained about taking on debt and interest. St. Louis and Kansas City lawmakers argued that not enough bridges in their areas would be repaired.

The compromise proposal is expected to come up for a final Senate vote Monday.