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Federal dollars may mean new jobs

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

BENTON - Federal highway dollars may mean more jobs in the county.

Jim Schwaninger, county economic developer, advised Scott County commissioners during his update at the regular County Commission meeting Tuesday of a six-year federal highway bill recently approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

If passed by the Senate and House, the bill would increase Missouri's return on federal transportation taxes to a minimum of 95 cents on the dollar, Schwaninger said.

Presently, Missouri gets back 90.5 cents for every dollar under the current bill, TEA-21, passed in 1998 and scheduled to expire at the end of February. "We used to get only 75 cents on the dollar," Schwaninger recalled.

Commissioners said that because recipient states outnumber donor states, it is unlikely Missouri will ever receive more than it contributes.

"There is no doubt that Missouri's roads and bridges are in a sad state," Sen. Kit Bond, transportation subcommittee chairman, said in a Nov. 11 press release reviewed by the Commission. "But with the new highway bill we will have the resources we need to make critical improvements."

In the press release, Bond said the "Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2003" will create thousands of new jobs in Missouri in addition to improving our nation's infrastructure.

"An additional $1.4 billion over six years of $233 million per year in new federal dollars will be a real shot in the arm to Missouri's economy," Bond said. "These dollars will put more Missourians back to work while making our roads, bridges and highways safer for our families."

In addition to the $1.4 billion, an additional $50 million is included in the bill for a proposed Mississippi River bridge at St. Louis.

In other Scott County news:

* A tire roundup for county residents is scheduled, according to Commissioner Walter Bizzell.

Residents may drop off used tires from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 at the county's road and bridge department shed in Benton.

"No large truck tires or tractor tires," Bizzell said.

Tires must also be removed from rims before being dropped off.

* Janet Randolph of Oran was appointed by commissioners to fill the unexpired term of Carolyn Asmus of Oran on the county's library board.

Asmus resigned due to difficulties attending meetings, according to commissioners.

The term expires June 30, 2005.

* Commissioners signed off on an amended application for the video arraignment grant to correct a technicality.

* Upcoming events around the county Thursday were discussed by commissioners including: the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce meeting scheduled for noon at St. Francis Xavier Church in Sikeston; the Bootheel Regional Planning Commission's meeting scheduled for 1 p.m.; and the Farmer's Recognition Banquet Thursday evening.