The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is embracing Obama’s vision of a “21st century transportation system” under the direction of Patrick McKenna, the state's new Transportation Director.
At the Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight, McKenna urged lawmakers to start improving the state’s crumbling infrastructure sooner rather than later.
McKenna specifically pointed to the fact that 60% of Missouri bridges are older than their 50-year design life.
He said that proposals to increase the state's gas tax should be considered.
Missouri's gas tax is 17 cents per gallon and hasn't been raised since 1996.
"We're not getting the same dollar value out of our construction that we could then," he said. "Commodities have gone up. The cost of construction has gone up. Asphalt, steel and concrete has gone up."
Past attempts to raise the gas tax have failed but senators have moved fast on a bill that would raise the state’s gas tax 1.5 cents for motorists and 3.5 cents for diesel users.
The bill would generate $80 million, $56 million of which would go towards roads and bridges improvement projects.