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Senate officially passes infrastructure bonding bill

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — After weeks of debate and compromise, the Missouri Senate officially passed a massive infrastructure bonding bill Monday.

The bill creates $301 million in bonds to be paid back over seven years to expedite the repair of hundreds of bridges in Missouri. That money is contingent upon the Missouri Department of Transportation receiving a highly competitive federal grant. It also includes $50 million allocated from the general revenue to “jump start” certain bridge projects.

The resolution was championed by Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz and is a major legislative priority for Gov. Mike Parson. It passed the Senate in a 26-7 vote and now heads to the House.

“This is the result of extensive conversation with several senators, and I want to thank them for working with us on this,” Schatz said last week.

“We are thrilled to see the Senate take significant action today on our shared priority of infrastructure,” Parson said in a statement Monday. “Today’s strong bipartisan vote is a result of focused efforts by the legislature as we work together on an infrastructure plan to move Missouri forward.”

The resolution had made it out of the Fiscal Oversight Committee earlier Monday afternoon without much fanfare, although one committee member noted he had never voted for legislation with such a high fiscal note before.

Conservative senators launched an overnight filibuster against Schatz’s original resolution last week as they expressed a preference for the House “pay as you go” approach which would allocate $100 million from the general revenue with the intention of securing additional funding in future years.

House Budget Chair Cody Smith said the Senate proposal is a “step in the right direction” that he believes “makes a lot of sense in a lot of ways.”

“I certainly think where the Senate is at has the potential for a very good compromise between the House position and what the governor initially proposed earlier this year,” Smith told The Missouri Times Thursday.

Schatz forges compromise on highway funding