WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Appropriations Committee, announced that several Missouri priorities were included in the following FY22 funding bills: Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies; Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. The bills are part of the larger government funding package that the Senate is expected to consider shortly.
“A top priority for many businesses, local officials, and farmers in our state is the critical need to strengthen our infrastructure network, from roads and waterways to bridges and airports,” said Blunt. “That’s why I’m pleased this legislation makes investments that will not only help modernize our infrastructure in the immediate future, but also create a stronger foundation for businesses in our state to compete and succeed for generations to come. I’m glad this legislation makes significant investments in Missouri’s world class ag research institutions as they work to develop new tools to help Missouri farmers lead the way in a global economy.”
Following are the Missouri priorities included in the legislation:
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies:
- Agricultural Research: The bill provides $3.5 billion to support agricultural research conducted by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). This investment will support research, education, and extension activities at the University of Missouri, Missouri State University, Northwest Missouri State University, Lincoln University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ARS facility in Columbia, Mo.
- Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: The bill includes $455 million for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, a $10 million increase over FY21.
- Policy Research Centers: The legislation provides $8 million for policy research cooperative agreements. This investment will assist with the analysis of national and international projections of agricultural markets and the rural economy.
- Livestock Genetic Research: The bill includes over $1.5 million for ARS to conduct livestock genetic research.
- Missouri River Research: The bill increases the resources available to ARS to continue their Missouri River Basin Water Resource Management Research.
- Farm Service Agency (FSA): The legislation includes nearly $1.2 billion for various farm, conservation, and emergency loan programs that benefit Missouri farmers and ranchers.
- Natural Resources Conservation Service: The bill provides $904 million for conservation operations and technical assistance to help farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners conserve and protect their land.
- Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations Program: The measure includes $100 million for the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations Program. Additionally, the bill includes $10 million for the East Locust Creek Reservoir Project. Blunt has led efforts to secure funding for the East Locust Creek Project to address severe water shortages in North Central Missouri. The East Locust Creek Reservoir service area includes Mercer, Putnam, Schuyler, Grundy, Sullivan, Adair, Livingston, Linn, Macon, and Chariton counties.
- Rural Development: The legislation provides over $3.9 billion for Rural Development programs and activities, including infrastructure, community development, rural housing, and water programs.
- Rural Broadband: The bill includes $486.6 million for the ReConnect Pilot Program. The program targets areas that currently lack access to broadband and includes provisions that prevent overbuilding existing infrastructure. The bill also includes $62.5 million for Distance Learning/Telemedicine and Broadband grants that will help expand access to modern, high-speed internet services in rural areas. Nearly 1/3 of rural Missourians don’t have access to broadband.
- Water and Electric Infrastructure: The measure includes nearly $1.45 billion for rural water and waste program loans, $490 million for water and waste grants, and over $1.3 billion in grants and loans for rural business and industry programs that promote small business growth in rural areas.
- Goodfellow Relocation: The bill includes $24.5 million to support the Goodfellow facility relocation in St. Louis, Missouri.
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies:
- Infrastructure Improvements: $26.3 million for infrastructure improvements, including the Fort Leonard Wood Waynesville-St. Robert Regional Airport, the Chester Bridge over Mississippi River in Perry County, and the I-70 / US 63 Interchange in Boone County.
- Federal Highway Administration: The legislation includes $60.7 billion for the Federal Highway Administration, including $57.5 billion for the Highway Trust Fund and $2.4 billion for the general fund. Within the general fund amounts, $1.1 billion is for bridge repairs and rehabilitation.
- U.S. Maritime Administration: The legislation includes $14.8 million for the Marine Highway Grant Program, which helps states like Missouri maximize the efficiency of waterborne transportation.
- Contract Towers: The measure provides $178 million for the contract tower program. There are five airports in the state that depend on the contract tower program, including Joplin, Columbia, Branson, Jefferson City, and St. Joseph.
- Essential Air Service: The bill fully funds the Essential Air Service program at $350 million. The Essential Air Service program provides resources to small and rural airports to ensure that travelers can connect with larger airports. The Essential Air Service provides support for airports in Cape Girardeau, Waynesville-St. Robert, Joplin, and Kirksville.
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
- National Park Service (NPS): The measure provides nearly $2.76 billion for the operation of the National Park System. In addition, the bill includes more than $84 million in dedicated funding for new responsibilities at existing parks and newly authorized park units in the NPS, such as the Gateway Arch and the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge.
- Ste. Genevieve: This legislation includes language directing the NPS to provide a report detailing the planned repair, rehabilitation, and restoration work at the Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park over the coming years.
- Water Infrastructure: The bill includes more than $1.6 billion for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan funds, which help states and localities improve water infrastructure.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS): The legislation provides more than $1.5 billion for the FWS. The bill includes funding for important programs including $48.5 million for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, $72.6 million for combatting invasive species like Asian Carp, and a $7 million increase for the Recovery Challenge Grant Program.