Hartzler: Moberly could use Trump plan to rebuild water system

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler said President Donald Trump's infrastructure proposal could be used to rebuild Moberly's water system, which saw two main breaks last week. (File)

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler on Monday said she hoped President Donald Trump's new infrastructure plan would mean more funding for smaller communities.

Speaking after a Monday event marking Moberly native Gen. Omar Bradley's 125th birthday, Hartzler said the details of what the president's plan would cover are still being worked out. She said the money from the president's plan could potentially be used for municipal waterworks.

Moberly residents faced a citywide boil order for nearly two days last week after a water main broke. A second break over the weekend led to a shorter, smaller boil order. City Manager Brian Crane said there is still no final estimate on how much those repairs will cost but the city's budget should be able to absorb the hit.

Crane said Moberly and other cities need to start rebuilding water systems that have been in use for decades. He said he welcomed Trump's infrastructure plan unveiled Monday.

"It's really a nationwide problem when you start looking at aging infrastructure. We've got to start coming up with some revenue-sharing solutions that will help lower those costs," he said.

President Trump's proposal involves $1.5 trillion in new infrastructure spending but only $200 billion of that would come from the federal government. State and local governments would be expected to make up the rest through various partnerships with each other, the feds and private industry.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized this reliance on private industry, saying it would mean toll roads. Sen. Claire McCaskill expressed similar concerns during a visit to Columbia in late January. She said private industry would focus on more profitable interstate highways at the expense of rural routes. Democrats have wheeled out their own $1.6 trillion plan that would rely on federal dollars rather than public-private partnerships.

Crane said Moberly has a lot of experience working with state and federal infrastructure grants. He said his city shouldn't have any problem matching federal funding through Trump's plan, but smaller towns might be left out.

"For a lot of towns that have hardly any money, four-to-one's going to be really hard to come by," he said.

Trump's proposal has yet to work its way through Congress.

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