Missouri lawmakers send bonds for state building repairs to Gov. Nixon

Markets Associated Press

Missouri's aging Capitol, public colleges and universities and other state-owned buildings could get roughly $300 million worth of repairs and renovations from bonding under a plan passed by the Legislature on Thursday.

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The package of spending bills given final approval by the House includes about $160 million for colleges and universities and roughly $105 million to help fix other buildings across the state.

About $40 million would pay for Capitol repairs. Another $35 million in bonds is planned to convert the Missouri Department of Transportation building in downtown Jefferson City into overflow office and meeting space from the overcrowded Capitol.

The measure also includes $10 million for maintenance at state parks, which the House had initially cut amid criticism of the construction of a new state park without explicit legislative approval.

If the bonds are issued, the money would mean relief after years of delayed maintenance for state-owned buildings because of lagging revenues.

Leaks in the Capitol, for example, have led to stalactites in the building's substructure. Repairs to college campuses and universities would include roof fixes, sidewalk repairs and plumbing upgrades.

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The bills now need approval from Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, who in his State of the State address asked lawmakers to pass a bonding plan for building repairs and appears likely to sign off on the Legislature's proposal.

"With our AAA credit rating and low interest rates, now is the time to make smart investments that will create jobs and strengthen our economy now and in the future," Nixon said in a statement.

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Bonding and other spending bills are HBs 17- 19.

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Online:

House: http://www.house.mo.gov

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