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MoDOT reports that more transportation funds will be needed in years ahead

November 13, 2001
By: Amanda Joyce
State Capital Bureau
Links: http://www.modot.state.mo.us/

JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Transportation told the General Assembly's Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight that Missourians' investment in the state's highways is being managed well.

MoDot is required by state law to issue an annual report highlighting the department's finances and current project load.

Both Henry Hungerbeeler, the Director of MoDOT, and Mike Golden, the Chief Operating Officer, spoke before the committee.

Hungerbeeler fielded questions concerning the department's need for improving Missouri highways, and Golden answered the committee's financial questions.

There are 32,000 miles of highway in Missouri and MoDOT currently works with a $1.8 billion budget to maintain the system of roads.

While the MoDOT audit found the department was using its current resources responsibly, Hungerbeeler said that the state's current resources were not enough and that a choice needs to be made.

"Missouri is at a crossroads," Hungerbeeler told the committee.

"Without additional money the gap between needs and resources will widen over time," he said.

MoDOT's report includes information on construction projects whose schedules have shifted due to changing priorities.

A total of 87 projects, or ten percent, that are to be completed between 2001-2005 experienced schedule changes. Fifteen projects were accelerated, and 11 were postponed by one to two months.

The delays were not the fault of MoDOT, but rather the result in a delay over environmental approval or right of way acquisition, Hungerbeeler said.

Some committee members expressed concern over the maintenance of I-70 between Columbia and Kansas City.

Hungerbeeler said that the highway was "in bad shape," and that expensive overlay repairs were being made in that area.

MoDOT is attempting to place a greater emphasis on the rehabilitation and reconstruction of highways, the report summary said.

Charts depicting the distribution of funds for 2002-2003 compared with 2004-2006 show that rehabilitation and reconstruction funding will increase 24 percent. Money for system expansion will decrease 23 percent.

To complete their report, MoDot has hired KPMG for the past four years, an independent accounting firm, to track its finances. This year the cost for KPMG's services was $235,000.

MoDOT also allotted close to $600,000 for the State Auditor's office to track the department's finances.