Missouri Gov. Mike Parson asked lawmakers in his budget proposal to distribute the general revenue fund’s surplus towards Interstate 70 widening and other capital improvement projects.
Among the items in the proposal is $859 million budget to expand the lanes of Interstate 70, widening the highway through Boone County near Columbia, suburban regions of Kansas City, and St. Louis. In addition, the budget includes other initiatives including $400 million for higher education, $700 million for infrastructure, and $300 million for public schools, among others.
KTTN News reported:
The proposal is just a piece of a project Missouri Department of Transportation officials estimate would cost $2.7 billion if I-70 was widened statewide.
In his State of the State speech, delivered to a joint session of the legislature Wednesday afternoon, Parson said congestion on I-70 is both dangerous and a drag on the state economy.
Overall, Parson is proposing a $51.6 billion state budget, with $14.3 billion in spending from the general revenue fund. The state has a general revenue surplus of about $5.2 billion, the largest in its history, and the budget plan would leave about $4 billion in the bank at the end of the coming fiscal year, state Budget Director Dan Haug said during a briefing before Parson laid out his proposal to lawmakers.
The I-70 proposal will not use any federal highway funds, but the state will be looking to leverage its influence in Congress to help widen the highway to three lanes in each direction statewide.