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State Rep. Kurtis Gregory (R-Marshall), right, visits with U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-Tarkio) at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City on May 1, 2023 (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

(LISTEN): Missouri Congressman Graves says $93-million in extra money for I-70 will also help I-44

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

The dean of Missouri’s congressional delegation who’s the powerful U.S. House Transportation Committee chair has helped Missouri land $93-million in additional funds to be put toward I-70.

Construction will start this summer between Columbia and Kingdom City on Missouri’s $2.8 billion plan to rebuild aging I-70 and expand it to six lanes between St. Louis and Kansas City. Governor Mike Parson announced the $90-million-plus in funding during his January 24 State of the State address. U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (Tarkio), who chairs Transportation, describes the additional money as huge.

“And it’s going to go to three segments on I-70. With the improvements that I-70 is going to be doing as a result of the work that the governor did and as a result of the work that the (state) Legislature did when it comes to getting more money into highway projects,” Graves says.

The $93-million will also free up money to go to other projects. Congressman Graves says it will also help heavily-traveled I-44. Governor Parson wants to use the additional money to establish the I-44 improvement fund. Chairman Graves, whose district includes mid-Missouri’s Moberly and Mexico, explains how that will work.

“And so what that does is it does allow for money that would have been used on those particular segments of I-70 (across Missouri) to now being moved over to I-44, the state dollars that were going to be used. So it does supplant a lot of those dollars and it’s just going to make the whole process that much better and get that much more done,” says Graves.

While some GOP members of Congress have criticized U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Chairman Graves praises the Secretary’s accessibility.

“You know the Secretary has been very open to talk to and easy to find. If I need to talk to him about anything, I just call his cell phone,” Congressman Graves says.

Graves says he’s spoken to the Secretary about the $93-million in additional funding that Missouri has received.

Congressman Graves also tells 939 the Eagle that we’ll see a lot of transportation improvements due to actions in the past few years from Governor Parson and from state lawmakers.

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