Missouri Continues to Invest in Transportation Infrastructure
This week the Legislature reconvenes for Veto Session and a special Extraordinary Session called by the Governor. State officials also received more good news recently when Missouri was awarded additional federal dollars to repair 40 bridges across Missouri. The state will receive a $20.7 million federal grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Competitive Highway Bridge Program that will allow the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) to replace the bridges.
The new funding builds on the legislative efforts of the General Assembly to provide new revenue sources for infrastructure repair. During the 2019 regular session, the legislature approved a $301 million bonding plan that will allow 215 bridges across the state to be repaired or replaced. The bonding plan was triggered when the state received an $81.2 million INFRA grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The legislature also approved a $50 million appropriation in the state budget to allow an additional 35 bridges to be repaired or replaced, and an additional $50 million in funding to create the Governor’s Transportation Cost-Share Program.
In announcing the new round of funding, Gov. Parson said, “Missouri’s infrastructure, specifically bridge infrastructure, has been a key focus for our administration since day one. This grant continues the momentum we’ve gained in recent months to invest in infrastructure improvements. Missouri’s farm-to-market roads are critical connections to Missouri’s highways, railways, and waterways, allowing our farmers to compete in the global marketplace.”
State Government Reorganizes to Improve Efficiency
With the support of the state legislature, Gov. Mike Parson moved forward with a fundamental restructuring of state government designed to streamline operations and increase efficiency. The governor had stated it was his intent to restructure state government during his annual State of the State Address in January.
The day the governor made the announcement about the more efficient government system, he said, “To move our state in the right direction, we had to roll up our sleeves and get to work, and that’s what this day represents. Today, we celebrate this historic moment for our state, our government, and most importantly, our citizens.”
The bulk of the reorganization took place in the Missouri Department of Economic Development, which saw several of its divisions moved to other state agencies in an effort to create a more focused economic development strategy and be more competitive with neighboring states. The department previously had more employees than any of its Midwest competitors. Now its 865 employees have been reduced down to 177. The director of the department said, “We’re going to be laser-focused and streamlined.”
Other components of the reorganization include:
- The Division of Workforce Development and the Missouri Economic Research and Information
- Center moving to the newly named Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development (formerly the Department of Higher Education) to establish a single state resource for all postsecondary education options.
- The Division of Energy moving to the Department of Natural Resources.
- The Office of Public Counsel (OPC) and the Public Service Commission (PSC) relocating to the newly named Department of Commerce and Insurance (formerly the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions, and Professional Registration).
- The Missouri Arts Council moving to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.
The governor’s office said the restructuring will better align certain functions of state government, and the changes will streamline operations, increase efficiency, and improve customer service to all Missourians.
Contact Representative Pike at Patricia.Pike@house.mo.gov or call 573-751-5388 with your comments and for assistance on state issues, resolutions, flags, and visits in District and at the Capitol. Contact Legislative Assistant, Matt Glover, at Matthew.Glover@house.mo.gov. Our 126th District Office is open year-round at the Missouri Capitol Monday through Thursday – 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. in Room 404A.