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Mississippi River Mayors Propose $8 Bil. Infrastructure Plan

Mayors who live along the Mississippi River are asking the federal government to spend nearly $8 billion dollars on its infrastructure. 

This week in Washington, D.C., Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch, Dubuque Mayor Roy Buol, and 16 others met with members of Congress and White House officials to promote their plan.

The mayors group is known as the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative.  St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says their plan recommends full funding for many existing grants and programs that keep the Mississippi clean, safe, and navigable. And he thinks the new administration is receptive to the plan.

The mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota, Chris Coleman, is the Co-Chair of the initiative. He says the plan addresses repair and maintenance of the river's locks, dams, and other infrastructure. It also proposes investing in floodplain restoration, pollution control, ecosystems, and disaster planning.

The Mississippi River mayors also recommend: establishing revolving loan funds for drinking water and clean water projects, plus disaster preparedness and response, and fully funding land and water conservation.

St. Paul, Minn. Mayor, Chris Coleman; Davenport Mayor, Frank Klipsch; St. Louis Mayor, Francis Slay
St. Paul, Minn. Mayor, Chris Coleman; Davenport Mayor, Frank Klipsch; St. Louis Mayor, Francis Slay

The mayors also propose new ways to pay for river projects. For example: allowing companies to buy municipal infrastructure bonds with money they hold overseas, and strengthening programs called, WIFIA and TIFIA. Those acronyms stand for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act and the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act.

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