Senator Blunt understands that infrastructure is an integral part of our economy in Missouri and nationwide, and successful transportation systems connect people and communities to help workers and families succeed.
Missouri sits at the nexus of the United States’ highway, railway, and waterway transportation networks. The state has nine commercial passenger airports and 4,400 miles of main rail track that are operated by 19 different railway companies. In addition, Missouri is home to thousands of miles of pipeline carrying American energy to families and job creators. And the state is at the nexus of the Interstate Highway System, which includes two of the major North-South Interstates in the United States, I-35 and I-55; the major East-West Interstate, I-70; as well as 16 other major Interstates.
As a member of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Senator Blunt continues to play a key role in the federal oversight of our nation’s transportation infrastructure. He knows that our reliance on our highways, railways, and waterways will continue to increase as the domestic economy continues to recover and expand.
That’s why Senator Blunt is committed to ensuring that Missouri’s infrastructure remains a priority and that the interstate transportation systems are safe, secure, and equipped to support families, workers, and job creators across America. In the Senate, he is working with his colleagues to introduce bipartisan bills like the Partnership to Build America Act, which would help finance transportation, energy, communications, water, and education infrastructure projects while putting people back to work and improving U.S. competitiveness around the world.
In 2013, Senator Blunt also joined his colleagues to introduce the Building and Renewing Infrastructure for Development and Growth in Employment (BRIDGE) Act, bipartisan legislation to help address the nation’s alarming investment shortfall in maintaining and improving our transportation network, water and wastewater systems, and energy infrastructure.
The Missouri and Mississippi Rivers are critical to Missouri’s identity, culture, and economy. While our state benefits from fertile farmland, commerce, and water supply through these natural resources, during years of abundant rainfall or runoff, both in Missouri and upriver, our communities and farmers can face enormous challenges. In order to maximize the benefits and minimize the drawbacks of the rivers, it is essential for our national river policies and infrastructure to continue to be focused on flood control.
Protecting people and property should always be the primary goal in river policy. Senator Blunt co-chairs the bipartisan and bicameral Mississippi River Caucus, and he helped found the Missouri River Working Group. He will continue to push to make sure that flood control is the primary focus of the Army Corps of Engineers, the Corps budget, and any future river policy.
Senator Blunt is also a strong supporter of the small ports and harbors on the Mississippi River. He helped negotiate authorization for two new separate avenues for funding small ports dredging in the Water Resources Reform & Development Act of 2014. He also has worked to secure critical funding for the dredging of small Mississippi River ports in the past two Appropriations bills.
When a disaster surpasses the ability of states and communities to rebuild, Senator Blunt believes the federal government should prioritize spending to help the people whose lives and livelihoods are impacted. During his time in the Senate, he has fought tirelessly to ensure that Missouri gets its fair share of those federal resources specifically dedicated to disaster recovery.
In 2011, Missouri was faced with a number of challenges following devastating tornadoes and flooding. The E-5 tornado that hit Joplin in May 2011 took an enormous toll in terms of lives and property, while flooding on both the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers left huge swathes of farmland underwater for months on end. Senator Blunt spent a great deal of time traveling the state and meeting with families and communities impacted by these natural disasters, and their experiences led him to fundamentally rethink the way we view our federal disaster policies.
As a member of Appropriations Committee, Senator Blunt played an important role during the 113th Congress in securing critical funding for the Army Corps to restore flood control infrastructure along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and to rebuild communities impacted by the unprecedented flooding of 2011.