Missouri lawmakers approve Interstate 70 widening

May 15, 2023

Keith Goble


Interstate 70 in Missouri could soon be under construction to widen the route linking the state’s two major metropolitan areas.

The General Assembly has approved a $50.8 billion state operating budget for the coming fiscal year. Funding for the east-west route linking Kansas City and St. Louis is included among the 12 spending bills sent to the governor’s desk.

Gov. Mike Parson previously requested $859 million to widen three stretches of the interstate.

Both chambers took steps during the regular session to make sure the work gets done.

House lawmakers previously sent to the Senate a budget bill that included the amount requested by the governor. Specifically, funding would be made available to widen to three lanes in each direction the portions from Blue Springs to Odessa, through Boone County near Columbia, and from Warrenton to Wentzville.

Senators called for designating $2.8 billion in the state budget to expand the roadway to at least three lanes each direction across the state.

The House ultimately agreed with the Senate on the $2.8 billion amount to make I-70 at least three lanes statewide.

Half of the amount needed for the project will come from state funding. The rest of the funding will be borrowed.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, said the work could begin as early as this fall.

“Our largest investment this session accompanied the governor’s continued effort to revitalize our infrastructure, namely Interstate 70,” Hough said in prepared remarks. “To those who say we can’t afford it, I say we can’t afford not to. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and the time is now.”

“The Appropriations Committee collectively agreed that this issue is not going to evaporate and we must focus our attention to address the inadequacies of this roadway. We are lessening future expenditures by tackling this issue before it becomes even more desperate.”

Also included in the state operating budget is a 20% pay increase for the Missouri Highway Patrol.

All 12 spending bills have moved to the governor’s desk. LL

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