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Legislators unveil state transit plans

March 20, 2001
By: Jennifer Ginsberg
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Several lawmakers have unveiled transportation plans which they say would make the Missouri Department of Transportation more accountable to the governor, legislature and taxpayers.

"Accountability comes before funding, if the wheel is broken, fix it, then fund it," said Rep. Bradley Roark, R-Springfield.

Roark, a member of the House Transportation Committee, supports replacing the existing Director of Transportion with a Secretary of Transportation.

"Right now, we lack accountability in the Department of Transportation. My whole point is being able to call up someone in charge of transportation and getting straight answers," Roark said. "Right now, we have a commission of several members, and blame seems to be passed around between them and the director and we need to simplify the process. More accountability will bring better roads, I'm pretty sure of that."

Other lawmakers, such as Rep. Larry Crawford, R-Centertown, have included sections in their transportation plans that would allow the governor to appoint a Secretary of Transportation.

Crawford's plan not only proposes a constitutional amendment for a Secretary of Transportation, it would also replace the existing Highways and Transportation Commission with a bipartisan advisory council that would be made up of nine members, one from each congressional district. Each member would be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the House and Senate.

"States that are doing well with their transportation infrastructure have a Secretary of Transportation," Crawford said, citing Kansas as an example.