MoDOT Seeking More Money for Future of Transportation

Published 02/13 2014 09:35PM

Updated 02/14 2014 10:08AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The Missouri Department of Transportation has a new plan for maintaining roads and bridges in the state.

However, if MoDOT's funds don't increase, their 20-year vision for transportation in Missouri could be in jeopardy.

"Our money will get so small that we won't even have enough to maintain our existing system," said Don Wichern, District Engineer for MoDOT Northwest.

MoDOT's yearly budget is currently $685 million. Four years ago, it was more than $1 billion.

The trend of working with fewer dollars will continue unless something is done.

"We could start seeing our roads get worse, our bridges get worse to a point where we might actually have to close a bridge or two," said Wichern.

MoDOT needs $485 million, per year, to maintain the state's roads and bridges.

A large part of their revenue comes from state and federal fuel taxes.

"Since it's declining, you know, what is important so that we know we spend their money wisely into the future," said Wichern. 

There are four main goals with MoDOT's transportation plan.

The first is to take care of the existing system.

"MoDOT system is seventh largest of all states in the country. 41st lowest revenue," said Wichern."

Second: Keep all travelers safe, no matter the form of transportation.

"We've reduced fatalities in the last seven years from over 1,200 down to the low 700s," said Wichern.

Third: Invest in projects that help economic growth and create jobs.

"Create good paying jobs. That's very important in our culture right now," said Wichern.

And last, give Missourians more options for transportation.

MoDOT says funding is the most important key to keep this vision alive.

They're relying on the community's support to help raise revenue.

"You've seen everything go up in the past 20 years, but taxes for highway revenues. So, it's time to help invest in transportation if you want to keep this system as good as it is today," said Wichern.

MoDOT workers spent several months traveling the state to get feedback from the community.

They said majority of Missourians, that they spoke with, support their transportation plan.

To read MoDOT's transportation plan in its entirety, click here.

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