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MODOT pushes for expansion of I44, I-70

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By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, Mo. – Plans to expand interstates 70 and 44 throughout Missouri headlined a transportation funding summit Monday in Jefferson City.

Two state lawmakers and the head of the Missouri Department of Transportation spent the morning trying to persuade business owners and economic officials that I-70 and I-44 must be expanded to eight lanes.

Republican Senator Bill Stouffer from Saline County said Missouri's economy depends on it.

"Thirty-six percent of all jobs are within three miles of I-70 and I-44," Stouffer said. "We're talking about a six-mile corridor around these 2 highways."

Stouffer also told the crowd that a tax increase will be necessary to fund it.

Associated Industries of Missouri, which hosted the summit, is undecided so far on whether to support the idea of raising taxes to pay for expanding I-70 and I-44.

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