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Missouri Senate debates Gov. Parson’s plan to repair 250 state bridges

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Lawmakers in the Missouri Senate debated Gov. Mike Parson’s proposal to repair bridges on Tuesday.

The governor’s plan would allocate $350 million in bonds to repair 250 bridges in the state. House members have approved a plan to spend $100 million a year for the next four years to repair bridges.

Sen. Dave Schatz, R-District 26, is shepherding the governor’s proposal. He has concerns that the legislative body might not commit to the plan in the future, which is why he still supports the bond issue.

“I’m not sure this whole body would be able to make that commitment. That’s why I think that this would be a reasonable position to move back to,” Schatz said.

Those who oppose the plan say it’s unconstitutional, bond approval over $1 million must go to a public vote.

Instead Sen. Bill Eigel, R-District 23, suggested that the money be found within the state’s $29 billion budget to avoid going into debt.

“I would like to see us do our part to find where in the $29 billion we could find more money for roads. And I think that the House has taken bold first steps by saying we are going to dedicate $100 million of cash right now, we are going to commit to that level for four years,” Eigel said.

He suggests the Senate follow the House on funding the bridge repair project in order to stay debt free. Those opposed are worried that the General Assembly won’t be able to commit to funding the project out of pocket in the future.

Information from the Missouri School of Journalism contributed to this report.

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