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Missouri awarded $13M in federal transportation grants for storm recovery efforts

Missouri is slated to receive more than $13 million in emergency relief funds from the federal government to repair roads and bridges damaged by flooding and storms in 2019. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) awarded a nearly $2.4 million grant to address infrastructure damage from severe storms and flooding in March 2019 and almost $11 million for the fallout of similar storms in April 2019. Funds will offset the cost of replacing or reconstructing roads, bridges, and safety equipment damaged during the storms.

Missouri was one of 42 states awarded emergency relief grants last week. In all, $1.39 billion was earmarked to respond to weather crises across the country — the largest emergency relief grant pot awarded since 2011, according to USDOT. 

“Emergency relief funding is critical to restoring vital transportation links damaged by severe weather and other unexpected events that are heavily relied upon by communities for daily travel,” USDOT Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said in a statement. 

Further funds are expected to come from the bipartisan infrastructure package signed into law last month, Pollack said. The bill included the $8.7 billion Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-saving Transportation (PROTECT) program offering grants to help communities increase the resilience of transportation infrastructure to weather events. 

Missouri should see $6.5 billion for federal highway programs and $484 million for bridge replacement and repairs over the next five years from the massive federal investment. The state is estimated to receive $100 million for broadband infrastructure, $99 million to expand its electric vehicle (EV) charging network, and $866 million for improvements to the state’s water infrastructure, among a myriad of other investments, according to the White House. 

Extensive damage from tornadoes and flooding in mid-Missouri also occurred in 2019. The state received emergency assistance from the federal government for both events, with recovery efforts continuing into 2021. 

Additionally, Missouri is seeking federal relief from the devastating tornadoes that struck the Midwest earlier this month. Gov. Mike Parson urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to collaborate with local and state partners on damage assessments in several Missouri communities, the first step in seeking a federal disaster declaration from President Joe Biden. The state underwent the same process this summer in the wake of severe flooding.