July 23, 2019 – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and U.S. Congressman Sam Graves, Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, along with U.S. Senator Josh Hawley and U.S. Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler announced yesterday the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) will receive an $81.2 million Infrastructure For Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to replace the I-70 bridge at Rocheport.
The bridge is critical to the massive amounts of traffic that use I-70 on a daily basis and is badly in need of replacement. Repair of the bridge threatened to create extremely long backups of traffic due to necessary lane closures. Total bridge replacement will avoid those delays.
In June, the Missouri Transportation and Development Council (MTD) and Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM) sent letters to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and all members of the Missouri congressional delegation in support of the MoDOT INFRA grant application for the bridge. Also in June, members of AIM and MTD visited with all members of the Missouri congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., to discuss many issues important to business. Approval of the grant was an important part of those discussions. Missouri received about half of the original grant request of $172.5 million. The total replacement cost of the bridge is estimated at $238 million.
“The Rocheport Bridge is a vital component of our nation’s highway system, carrying millions of people and billions of dollars in freight every year,” said Senator Roy Blunt. “Replacing the bridge will create a safer, more reliable transportation route for businesses, travelers and local residents. This has been one of the top infrastructure priorities for our state and I appreciate Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s support for getting it done. Location is our greatest competitive advantage in Missouri, and I’ll continue advocating for the federal resources necessary to improve our state’s transportation system and keep our economy growing.”
“Replacing the Rocheport bridge is critical to maintaining one of the busiest transportation corridors in Missouri and the country. As Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I’m pleased to see the INFRA grant program used for this critical project,” said Congressman Sam Graves. “This grant will not only help replace this aging structure, it will also free up much-needed dollars to maintain our roads and bridges around the state – including 76 aging bridges in North Missouri. I applaud Secretary Chao and President Trump for their continued focus on fixing our crumbling infrastructure and congratulate MODOT on working diligently to find a way to replace this bridge.”
“Replacing the Rocheport Bridge is a huge victory for our state,” said Senator Josh Hawley. “This critical infrastructure investment will benefit Missouri residents and businesses by providing safe and reliable passage for the more-than 12 million vehicles that travel across the bridge each year. I am grateful to the administration for prioritizing the critical infrastructure needs of Missouri, and I applaud the Missouri Department of Transportation for their efforts to secure these funds.”
“I am thrilled we are receiving the INFRA grant! This award is critical not only for the citizens of Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District and mid-Missouri, but for travelers and truckers across the nation who traverse our great state,” said Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler. “This is a prime example of communities and tax dollars working together to address a critical need. It has been an honor to advocate for this alongside Senator Roy Blunt, the Missouri congressional delegation, Governor Mike Parson, the Missouri legislature, the counties of Boone and Cooper, and the cities of Columbia and Boonville who all stood together making the case for why we need to replace the Rocheport bridge. I am glad the INFRA federal dollars will leverage the local dollars to provide a new bridge we can all be proud of, connecting the east and west coasts of America.”
“Since becoming Governor, improving Missouri’s infrastructure has been a major focus for our administration. The Rocheport bridge has long been in need of repair, and we’re thrilled that we now have the funds to complete this critical project and trigger our bold transportation plan,” Governor Mike Parson said in a statement. “Transportation drives our economy, and replacing the bridge is a major step toward maintaining our highway system and ensuring we have the framework for access and expansion in the future. We appreciate Senator Blunt, Secretary Chao, and President Trump’s continued support and commitment to infrastructure in Missouri.”
“We are pleased the U.S. Department of Transportation understands the critical importance of this bridge and we thank our elected officials in the Missouri delegation for their leadership in helping secure this grant,” said Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri and executive director of MTD. “In addition to funding this critical bridge project, the action also triggers state officials’ ability to issue $301 million in bonds for other bridge projects across Missouri which is vitally important for the safety of Missourians,” said McCarty.
The Missouri Transportation and Development Council (MTD) began as the Missouri Good Roads Federation in 1920 to support passage of the first transportation bond issue to “Get Missouri out of the Mud!”
Associated Industries of Missouri is the state’s oldest statewide business advocate organization, celebrating 100 years of representing Missouri employers in the Missouri Capitol, working on employers’ behalf with administrative agencies, and representing employers in the courts.