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State infrastructure looks to be updated with $1 billion roads and bridges bill

Telesouth Communications

With the Senate passing a bill to improve the state’s infrastructure, the over $1 billion bill is headed to the House for debate.

However, with such a hefty price tag, many are wondering where the money will be coming from. Senator Joey Fillingane said that the $1.165 billion would be broken down into sections and that over $1 billion of that is new spending.

Cities would receive $125 million, $240 million would go toward the immediate needs across the state, $600 million would be used for long-term infrastructure needs such as roads and bridges, and the final $240 million would be reserved for emergency bridge repair.

While Fillingane said that the vast majority of the money is slotted to go toward road and bridge repair, there will be some money allocated for railroad, water and sewer, and dams.

He added that 20% will be spent at the county level and another 20% at the city level. The other 50% will be spent through state agencies and part of it by the Governor. However, MDOT will be receiving less money.

“It’s true that of this extra spend of the $1.165 billion MDOT will get no additional direct oversight of those dollars, but they are only losing $25 million a year out of a $1.2 billion budget,” Fillingane said. “If you can’t find $25 million in savings out of a $1.2 billion budget, you’ve got some serious problems.”

Fillingane said that the bill will not raise taxes, but instead prioritize spending on actual needs instead of administrative costs. The bill was created with President Trump’s infrastructure plan in mind and would make it easier for the state to receive federal funds.

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