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Missouri House Speaker Dean Plocher (R-Town and Country), right, introduces U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-Tarkio) to the full House in Jefferson City on May 1, 2023 (photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

(AUDIO): Powerful Missouri congressman trying to obtain federal funding for massive I-70 project

Missouri House Speaker Dean Plocher (R-Town and Country) introduces U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-Tarkio) to the full House in Jefferson City on May 1, 2023 (photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

A $2.8 billion bipartisan plan to six-lane I-70 across Missouri has been approved by a conference committee of Missouri Senate and House budget negotiators and is heading back to the two respective chambers.

The measure from State Sen. Lincoln Hough (R-Springfield) has been a top priority for Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia).  U.S. House Transportation Committee chair Rep. Sam Graves (R-Tarkio) met with state senators in Jefferson City this week about I-70. Congressman Graves tells 939 the Eagle that he’ll support whatever I-70 bill the Legislature approves.

“We’ll see if we can get the (state) Legislature to provide that seed money. (We’ll) see if we can find more money in Washington for this,” Congressman Graves says.

Under Senator Hough’s I-70 measure, the state would pay about $132-million a year for 15 years to pay off the expansion.

Congressman Graves also warns the Biden administration could have issues with the I-70 plan.

“The (Biden) administration has tried to stop any addition of extra lanes to clear up congestion around the country. So we’re pushing back on that at the federal level because it literally runs headlong into what we’re trying to do here in Missouri,” says Graves.

The Missouri Constitution requires state lawmakers to approve a balanced budget by Friday evening at 6.

Meantime, obtaining federal funding for rural lettered routes is a top priority for Chairman Graves, whose district includes Moberly, Mexico and Macon in the 939 the Eagle listening area. He says he’s trying to find federal dollars to offset state dollars and describes the rural lettered routes in north Missouri as critical farm-to-market roads.

“Which continue to be plagued with problems and potholes. I know the governor (Mike Parson) has found that extra $100-million to do that and we’re trying to find more money to be able to allow the state to move more resources over there,” says Graves.

Congressman Graves also says there are a lot of deficient bridges in rural Missouri, including many in his massive 39-county district, which contains more square miles than nine states.

One comment

  1. I’m sure the congressman will support it now…….since he voted against the infrastructure bill. This guy has a bad habit of talking out of both sides of his mouth. He’ll take full credit for this when completed. See ya at the ribbon cutting ceremony congressman.

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