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JEFFERSON CITY – Though a dark rain cloud hovers over Missouri’s transportation funding, the state’s new five-year highway construction program was approved by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission. Only one-third the size of the 2009 program, it barely has enough funds to take care of the existing system.
Missourians will see very few new projects during the next few years that expand the system and make it safer.
Stagnant state revenues, uncertain federal funding and no more money from Amendment 3 voter-required bonds is causing highway and bridge construction in Missouri to dramatically decrease – resulting in a program containing construction projects averaging only $500 million per year.
“We’ve known this grim situation was coming,” said Kevin Keith, Missouri Department of Transportation interim director. “It’s as if we’ve fallen off a cliff.”
To cope with this funding challenge, MoDOT has adopted a five-year direction to deliver commitments promised Missouri citizens. MoDOT will focus on keeping major highways in good condition, improving minor state roads and keeping pace with needed bridge repairs and maintenance.
“This five-year direction requires significant cost-saving strategies like reducing the number of MoDOT’s salaried employees and operating expenditures for mowing and equipment,” said Keith. “These measures are estimated to save more than $200 million that we’ll use to keep our roads and bridges in good condition.”
However, there are consequences to operating with insufficient funds. It means the department will not be able to address economic development opportunities, deliver corridor improvements or replace major bridges.
The 2011-2015 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program lists transportation projects planned by state and regional planning agencies for fiscal years 2011 through 2015 (July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2015).
The program totals $5.7 billion, with approximately $4.07 billion going to highway and bridge projects, about $970 million to other transportation modes and approximately $680 million to local transportation programs. It contains any remaining Amendment 3 and Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement projects. It also includes transportation improvements identified by metropolitan planning organizations in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, Columbia, Jefferson City, Joplin and St. Joseph.
The complete list of transportation projects, as well as maps showing all highway and bridge projects and corridors to be completed, can be found at www.modot.org