YOUR LETTERS: Congress needs to pass infrastructure bill

Adequate funding for roads and bridges always seemed a perpetual challenge in our state, and I often wondered why.  Our central location and transportation’s prominent ranking among Missouri’s top industries made the importance of infrastructure obvious but did not explain our state’s constant struggle to maintain its roads and bridges.

Despite being a median state for population, Missouri’s 33,859 highway miles is the seventh most in the nation. We are also No. 7 for bridges, with 10,385.  And that’s just the state system: our cities and counties have 97,000 miles of county roads and streets, and almost 14,000 more bridges.  That’s more than any of the eight states surrounding us.

It’s the burden that comes with being in the middle of it all.

Congress has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help Missouri address its infrastructure needs.  The bi-partisan package won the votes of all 50 Democrats and 19 Republicans in the U.S. Senate, including Senator Roy Blunt.  It deserves the full support of Missouri’s Congressional delegation, and today I am asking all eight members for their “yes” vote. 

The package goes well beyond roads and bridges, which only account for 10 percent of the bill, and will benefit every part of our state.  It includes substantial investments in rural broadband, public transportation, environmental remediation, passenger and freight rail, airports, the electric grid, water systems, ports, road safety and electric vehicles.

All of those things matter to Missouri.

The bi-partisan infrastructure bill will go a long way toward fixing our crumbling infrastructure, create more jobs with higher wages and make critical strategic investments to maintain our economic competitiveness with China and others in the 21st century.

It deserves our support.

Former Missouri State Senator

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