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Governor praises lawmakers on bridge deal

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson says he appreciates lawmakers for compromising on how to pay for road and bridge repairs.

Senators on Thursday gave initial approval to a plan to spend $50 million upfront. If the Missouri Department of Transportation is awarded a federal matching grant, that would trigger another roughly $300 million in bonding.

Parson says he would rather the proposal did not depend on action by the federal government. But he says understands that compromise is needed.

Lawmakers have been split on how to pay to repair roads and bridges after voters in November defeated a proposed 10-cent gas tax hike for transportation. Parson in January proposed borrowing $350 million to fix 250 bridges across the state.

That drew pushback, especially from a group of Republican senators who argued against taking on debt and interest.

The Senate deal reduces borrowing and calls for debt to be paid off in seven years, instead of the 15 years of payments that Parson initially proposed.

The compromise proposal is expected to come up for a final Senate vote Monday.

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