Transportation secretary announces federal grants to repair aging infrastructure

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ST. LOUIS – Rural communities across the country and in Missouri will see more funding to repair aging infrastructure, US Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said Tuesday.

The transportation secretary announced the new initiative during a meeting of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation at the Marriott St. Louis Grand Hotel.

“Rural communities and their transportation networks are vital to our country because 69 percent of the nation’s lane miles are in rural areas,” Chao said.

Slowly but surely, American rural infrastructure has eroded; especially in Missouri. The Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success program (ROUTES) is to make sure rural communities are not left behind.

“I have always said that rural America is not looking for a handout,” Parson said. “Rural America just wants fairness and equity in the distribution of funds.”

Governor Parson has been talking about state infrastructure since taking office. Approximately 80 percent of America’s poor-condition bridges are in rural areas. Once again, many in Missouri. Rural roads have also proved to be dangerous

“Seventy-two percent of large truck occupation fatalities occur on rural roads,” Chao said.

The transportation secretary also announced $225 million of highway bridge program grant funding to 18 states. Missouri will receive over $20 million in grant money, the second most of any state. That money will be used to improve 41 bridges in the state.

The infrastructure improvements to downtown, a project between MoDOT and IDOT, won the grand prize in the 2019 Americas Transportation Awards competition.

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