ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Another warning from Missouri transportation officials, who say funding for roads and bridges is about to hit a major pothole.
Missouri Department of Transportation director Kevin Keith was in St. Louis Thursday morning for the release of a new study by TRIP, a Washington D.C.-based transportation research group.
It showed that Missouri ranks seventh in the nation when it comes to bridges that are “structurally deficient “- 17%.
Another 12% are “functionally obsolete”.
Keith said without new funding sources in the very near future, that figure’s only going to get worse.
And he said the road ahead looks bleak.
“There’s nothing happening with a new transportation bill,” a grim-faced Keith explained to a group of business leaders at RCGA headquarters downtown. “Gas and diesel are at $4 a gallon, or close to it. Quite frankly, no one has much interest in paying any more taxes of any kind.”
The TRIP report showed that voter approval of Amendment 3 way back in 2004 allowed Missouri to recapture transportation funds that had been diverted to other programs, and also allowed for the sale of $2 billion in bonds to undertake many needed projects over the following years.
However, that funding has long since dried up and highway capital investment in Missouri will soon plummet to pre-2000 levels.
“Our construction program for the last six years has averaged $1.2 billion a year,” Keith said. “Our problem isn’t coming, it’s here, because we are in the middle of a five-year stretch where the best we’ll do…is half that.”
He added that in the St. Louis area alone, major projects that can’t be done without new funding sources include replacing the I-44 bridge over the Meramec River and the I-270 bridge over the Mississippi.
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