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State Sen. Bill Eigel (R-Weldon Spring) spoke about I-70 legislation at Dickey's in Columbia on December 2, 2022 (file photo from 939 the Eagle's Brian Hauswirth)

GOP lawmaker says his proposal rebuilds I-70 across Missouri, without raising taxes

State Sen. Bill Eigel (R-Weldon Spring) speaks on the Missouri Senate floor in Jefferson City on January 11, 2022 (file photo courtesy of Harrison Sweazea at Senate Communications)

A veteran state senator from eastern Missouri’s Weldon Spring has unveiled a proposal to rebuild heavily-traveled I-70 from Wentzville to Blue Springs, making it four lanes in each direction.

State Sen. Bill Eigel (R-Weldon Spring) traveled to Columbia on Friday to address the Pachyderms at Dickey’s barbecue. His presentation drew a standing-room only audience. Eigel, who chairs the Senate General Laws Committee, tells 939 the Eagle that his proposal would not require a tax increase.

“Nobody needs to pay anymore in taxation, we got plenty of money down in Jefferson City. But we’re going to set aside some of that record level of sacrifice that taxpayers are already providing. We’re going to set aside about $2.5 billion over the next ten years and add some of the surplus that we already have at the state level to the tune of about another billion-and-a-half,” Eigel says.

Senator Eigel says a federal match of 50 percent would give Missouri the $8-billion needed to complete the project. State transportation officials have said that congestion in St. Louis and Kansas City and  along Interstates 70 and 44 in Missouri is causing an annual economic loss of $575-million.

You’ll be heading to the polls in 2024 to vote on Senator Eigel’s proposal, if lawmakers approve his Senate Joint Resolution nine. He says it’s badly-needed.

“I mean ideally I’d like to go from border to border. Some of the plans I’ve seen in the past go from about the Blue Springs area to the Wentzville area. When we get some of those costs in, I would be willing to allocate additional funding so that we could get from border to border”,” says Eigel. 

Former Senate Transportation Committee chair Doug Libla (R-Poplar Bluff) opposes the plan, saying funding out of general revenue would have Missourians paying for it. Libla says out-of-state travelers would get “a free ride”, unless they buy something like a Twinkie as they pass through.

Missouri’s 2023 legislative session begins on January 4 in Jefferson City.

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