Gov. Mike Parson thinks now is not the right time to study whether turning U.S. Highway 36 across northern Missouri into Interstate 72 makes financial sense.

Parson vetoed the $2.5 million state funding request for the study, saying lawmakers saw a large budget and began adding pet projects to it.

“In my particular case, you have to weigh that out and say, ‘Look! What’s the priorities of the state, and how do we afford to continue to do what we’re doing?’” he told KFEQ’s Brent Martin.

But Parson said he isn’t necessarily against a move to turn U.S. Highway 36 into I-72; he just doesn’t believe the time is right.

“Before you do the study, we got to make sure we’re even prepared to do that,” he said. “Do we have the land to do it? You (have) got to look at overpasses and get on people’s property. So there’s a lot of things going into that. What you don’t want to do is spend $2.5 million on a study – and in five years, seven years from now, it’s obsolete.”

Interstate 72 currently runs westward from Champaign, Illinois to Hannibal, Missouri. The proposal would extend I-72 westward to St. Joseph.

Parson vetoed more than $500 million in spending while signing the $50 billion state budget. But he did approve $2.8 billion to expand Interstate 70 to three lanes from Kansas City to St. Louis.

Copyright 2023, Missourinet.