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By Corbin Smith, Editorial Assistant

United States Representative Emanuel Cleaver II announced that the INVEST in America Act being considered by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure includes more than $22.6 million for infrastructure projects throughout the Fifth Congressional District of Missouri.

According to a press release from the congressman’s office, the comprehensive surface transportation package introduced by the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee will allocate money for zero-fare electric buses, pedestrian plazas and other improvements.

The Cliff Drive Scenic Byway was included in the act to undergo $2.16 million worth of improvements.

These improvements, Cleaver said, have been long overdue and this act aims to affect the community that understands its necessity the most.

“I’ve been a long-time proponent of community funding requests making a comeback in Congress because no one understands the needs of these communities better than those who represent them,” Cleaver said. “From Lawson to Odessa to 18th & Vine in Kansas City, these projects are desperately needed to rebuild aging infrastructure, generate economic activity, and help communities across the district build back better from the pandemic.”

Cleaver requested funding for six transportation and infrastructure projects in April. These projects were funding for an 18th and Vine Jazz District pedestrian plaza, to replace Raum Road Bridge in Lawson, Mo., improvements to Cliff Drive, infrastructure improvements to Downtown Odessa, Mo., and for the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) to purchase zero-fare electric buses.

“All of these projects are vital to the economic recovery of each community,” Cleaver said. “By investing in American communities like these, we can help pave the way to a better future for all. That’s why I’m proud to have supported each of these projects.”

More information on the specifics of these local projects will be published when it becomes available.

On July 1, Cleaver’s bill was passed by the House of Representatives to fund all projects previously mentioned. Additionally, $4.5 million dollars were approved to go toward the KCATA fund for zero-fare electric buses to bring the total to $10.5 million.

Now, the bill and its supporters must wait for the Senate’s approval, as well as President Joe Biden’s in order for improvements to commence.

“I’ve always believed that investments in the American people provide the greatest returns, and I’m thrilled that the House of Representatives was able to pass this transformational legislation to bring our country’s infrastructure into the 21st century,” Cleaver said.