Missouri Governor Mike Parsons has listed Harris-Stowe State University as one of the institutions set to receive a portion of a $470M budget for construction. Get the full story from Kurt Erickson at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch below.
Missouri may be poised to embark on a major building spree using $2.8 billion in federal pandemic relief funds.
In outlining his budget plan Wednesday for the fiscal year beginning July 1, Gov. Mike Parson laid out dozens of major brick-and-mortar projects he wants to launch, arguing in a speech to lawmakers that spending the federal money on one-time expenses will not leave the state facing a financial cliff when the money runs out.
“Providing essential services to Missouri citizens and businesses is the role of state government,” budget documents noted.
Parson budget chief Dan Haug said most of the American Rescue Plan Act money must be spent by 2026, meaning there is a rush to get the money approved by the Legislature.
“These are big projects that are going to take a while to get going,” Haug said.
The projects represent a cross-section of state government, including:
• $27 million to partially reopen the flood damaged Columbia Bottom Conservation Area.
• $9.6 million to install Wi-Fi in state parks.
• Nearly $470 million for university building projects, including a new academic building at Harris-Stowe State University, an expansion of the Arnold campus of Jefferson College and upgrades at University of Missouri-St. Louis and St. Louis Community College.
• $250 million to expand broadband internet access and $30 million on the construction of 100 cell towers.
• $411 million on drinking water, storm water and wastewater projects, including identifying water service lines containing lead.
• $250 million in matching funds to cities and towns for local development projects.
• $69.3 million to help build a 86-mile section of the Rock Island Corridor recreational trail from Eugene to Beaufort, including a bridge over the Gasconade River.
• $43 million to build a new arena and buy land for additional campgrounds at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia.
• $78 million for a public health lab in Jefferson City that will be used by four state agencies.
• $104 million for a public safety crime lab in Jefferson City.
The Missouri Budget Project, which tracks state spending, urged Parson to earmark the federal funds for a number of the same projects he outlined on Wednesday.
“Every Missourian deserves the opportunity to thrive, with quality housing they can afford, a job that lets them provide for their families, and a strong community,” said budget project director Amy Blouin. “By investing in the things that help all of our families succeed, we can build a stronger foundation for our state’s economic prosperity.”