Will Trump's infrastructure plan impact projects in Kansas City?

Posted at 6:54 AM, Feb 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-13 13:31:25-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — From new bridges to improved flood control measures, city staff is analyzing how President Donald Trump's infrastructure plan may impact construction projects in Kansas City.  

The president unveiled his $1.5 trillion plan Monday. It calls for the federal government to commit $200 billion in direct spending for roads, bridges, railways and other infrastructure needs across the country. The plan relies on state and local governments to match the federal government's funding, sometimes at a four-to-one ratio. 

In Kansas City, staff at city hall are concerned the plan may negatively impact flood control projects. 

For example, Kansas City launched a project to control Turkey Creek in December. The creek has historically flooded the area on Southwest Boulevard along the state line. The federal government is slated to pay $21 million of the $31 million project.

"Typically, historically, we have had a 65 to 70 percent match because those are such big, important projects that serve such a broad range of people," explained KCMO spokesperson Chris Hernandez. "They're talking about maybe capping that at 20 percent."

Hernandez warned with reduced federal funding, the city may have to reevaluate what is possible in terms of flood management. 

"That [reduction] would be a huge change and we probably would not be able to do many of those types of flood control projects," he said. 

Another big project in the works is replacing the Buck O'Neil Bridge and adding a direct connection between Interstate 35 and Highway 169 in downtown Kansas City. The city estimates that project to cost $200 million. 

As of now, state and regional partners have committed to paying $140 million of the project. The city applied for two federal grants to help cover the remaining $60 million. On the April ballot, the city will also ask voters to extend an additional one percent sales tax to cover any remaining costs.

"We think we have put ourselves in a good position locally because we have already worked out a regional cooperative to fund part of that," Hernandez pointed out. "So the feds should look at that and say, 'Ok, you're taking care of your business at home, we'll go ahead and provide a federal match for that.' Hopefully that will be included in this infrastructure plan as it moves forward."

It's unclear when the city will find out whether or not it received the two federal grants. Either way, the project will move forward and the city will rely on sales tax revenue to pay the balance.