ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. — There is now a proposal before the St. Charles County Council to use pandemic relief dollars from Congress to do things like fill potholes and replace neighborhood streets.
“Almost everybody uses the roads, so this I think is a good way to spend that federal money,” said St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann, a Republican. “Believe me we are going to fix all of the potholes. We’re also going to fix all of those concrete slabs (streets) that are cracked, all of those curb and gutters and that broken down in some way.”
All have fallen into a greater state of disrepair since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic through either funding shortfalls or worker shortages. So, the council is considering the use of $10 million of its $39 million in the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, funding from 2021, to fix neighborhood streets.
Municipalities such as St. Peters, O’fallon, the City of St. Charles, and Wentzville, could then get 50-50 match funding from the county for their street repairs.
Local governments are allowed to use ARPA funds for infrastructure to the point that revenues for it were wiped out by the pandemic.
The City of St. Louis is spending nearly $70 million of close to $250 million in 2021 ARPA funds on infrastructure but not for repairs on secondary and side streets where people actually live, as will be the case in St. Charles County should the council approve the use.
“Absolutely, it’s a good idea to use on the streets, especially along here where we just tripped,” said Melanie Kachevas of St. Peters, as she walked along Historic Main Street in St. Charles, Tuesday. “Yes, it’s a very good idea!”
“Wouldn’t it employ people who need jobs?” added her friend, Julie Dozier.
“This is just the first thing we’re going to do to go back and look at our own city and county roads and get those up to the standards that the people deserve,” Ehlmann said.
The St. Charles County Council is expected to vote on the plan Monday night, June 13.
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