Gov. Eric Greitens on Friday announced his proposal to improve Missouri’s infrastructure — a new state program to provide communities with matching funds for local improvements that also will help create jobs.
In a statement released early Friday afternoon, Greitens said: “Our top priority is more jobs and higher pay for the people of Missouri. When I’m talking with people about how to bring more paychecks and bigger paychecks to Missouri, they often tell me that we need better infrastructure.”
Greitens said he agrees “we have to invest in infrastructure” as part of his administration’s ongoing work “to bring quality jobs back to our state.”
“That’s why we’re proposing a new program, the Jobs and Infrastructure Fund, to help build things like utilities, ports, and bridges to areas where jobs are sorely needed,” he said in his statement. “If communities are willing to partner with us to win jobs, the state will match their investment. This will be another great tool in our mission to bring more jobs to Missouri.”
Greitens said his budget proposal — which hasn’t been released yet — will include $25 million for the proposed fund, which would be managed by the state’s Department of Economic Development with cooperation from the Department of Transportation.
They will work with local leaders to determine where targeted investments can be made to create jobs, the governor said, and will provide matching funds to the community.
His proposal, which the Legislature would have to adopt, would have the funds available for transportation, communications, utilities and other vital public infrastructure needs.
In Greitens’ news release, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Dan Mehan said: “The business community is increasingly vocal about the need to invest in the connections that will support our state’s economic future. These needs go beyond the well-publicized issues with our transportation infrastructure. Missouri also needs to make key investments in our ports and utility infrastructure — investments that will boost the economies of communities across Missouri.”
Mehan called Greitens’ proposed Jobs and Infrastructure Fund “a creative approach to help address this problem.”