MoDOT Worries Funding Will Slow in 2017

By Jonathan Cooper |

Published 08/10 2014 10:54PM

Updated 08/10 2014 11:23PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) In an election that saw three ballot initiatives pass, MoDOT was left behind.

Amendment 7, a three quarter cent sales tax that would have raised $540 million each year for Missouri roads, failed with 57 percent of Missouri voters voting against it.

"It's very disappointing but you know we respect voters," said Don Wichern, a district engineer with MoDOT. "We're a public service and we're going to respect their right to vote."

Wichern says since the vote failed, MoDOT will have to do their best with what they already have.

"What we've continued to do for many years and it's been our goal forever is we're gonna care for the system and keep it as good as we can for as long as we can with the resources that we have to spend," he said.

But that could be difficult in the coming years. Wichern says by 2017, they will have trouble maintaining the roads they have.

"It'll start going bad like it was in the early 80s," Wichern said.

The tax would have allowed MoDOT to build more than 800 transportation projects across the state.

Wichern says MoDOT still plans to address those issues, but it will now take much longer.

"We'll do little safety improvements where we can, right turn lanes, left turn lanes things like that, but the systematic things we won't have enough to do," he said.

And for some that voted for the tax last week, that's a tough pill to swallow.

"It needed to be passed because the roads are in definite need of repair," said Debbie M., who voted for the tax.

But for others, the tax may have been too much.

"My husband voted no on it," said Becky Austin from Mound City. "The last two times that it was voted in the money was not used for the roads and that discouraged people."

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