County officials are anxious about what Congress could do with the new federal highway bill.
A draft of a bill continuing the federal highway funding program eliminates a provision that fifteen percent of federal gas tax money distributed to states be used for county bridge replacement and repair.
That alarms county officials who count almost 14-thousand bridges in their county systems, more than 17-hundred of them obsolete and another 26-hundred structurally deficient. About 47-hundred of those bridges are more than 50 years old.
Executive Director Dick Burke of the Missouri Association of Counties says the loss of those funds would be devastating to counties and cities. “We have a huge road and bridge network, one of the largest in the united states; I believe we’re the seventh largest…and theres’s just no way to generate that money locally. It’s just impossible,” he says.
Cities and counties are getting about 645 million dollars this year from that federal highway aid program.
He says there’s no way the money can be replaced if it’s taken out of the highway bill and that means a lot of bridge will not be built or replaced. He says county commissioners throughout Missouri are “scared” by what could happen in Washington.
Bob Priddy talks to Dick Burke 7:10