Although suffering from insufficient funds for expanding, repairing and fortifying the state’s transportation system, Missouri’s five-year highway construction program has been approved by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.
Only one-third the size of the 2009 program, the 2011-15 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program is plagued by stagnant state revenues, shaky federal funding and lack of money from Amendment 3 voter-required bonds.
“We’ve known this grim situation was coming,” Kevin Keith, Missouri Department of Transportation interim director, told the North Missourian. “It’s as if we’ve fallen off a cliff.”
The five-year plan totals $5.7 billion, with approximately $4.07 billion going to highway and bridge projects, $970 million to other transportation modes and $680 million to local transportation projects.
Due to insufficient funds, the state will not be able to address economic development opportunities, deliver corridor improvements or replace major bridges.
MoDOT will prioritize by focusing on maintaining major highways, improving minor state roads and making bridge repairs.
“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."