New State Transportation Program Cut in Half, Layoffs Expected
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ST. LOUIS, MO.(KMOX)- For the past five years, Missouri’s state highway construction program has averaged $1.2 billion a year. The Missouri Department of Transportation has presented a new, five-year construction program to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission that’s only half that amount — about $600 million a year.
MoDOT Director Kevin Keith says the department reached a point where it can no longer have enough state revenue to match federal funding, and that will mean the state of Missouri will lose millions of dollars for transportation projects. The federal government allocates funding to the states using a formula that requires the states to match a percentage of the money.
“This is not a surprise,” Keith said. “We knew this day was coming. We’ve fallen off of the cliff. We’re at the bottom, and now we have to pull ourselves up, scrape the dust off and figure out what we can do to increase funding for transportation.”
Modot will under go cost cutting measures such as layoffs and refocusing their attention on taking care of Missouri’s existing roads and bridges.
District Engineer Ed Hassinger said the agency will reduce MoDOT staff by 1200 statewide and close 135 facilities. The cuts will include middle management. Those cuts will be complete by December 31st, 2012.
“While these cost savings provide a temporary fix, they do not solve our funding situation in the long term,” said Keith.
The draft 2012-2016 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program lists transportation projects planned by state and regional planning agencies for fiscal years 2012 through 2016 (July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2016).
The proposed program is available for public review beginning May 5.
Citizens interested in seeing the program or offering comments can contact MoDOT’s customer service centers at 1-888 ASK MODOT (275-6636). The program is also available on MoDOT’s web site – www.modot.org – and at MoDOT’s district offices around the state.
The formal public comment period ends June 3.
Following the public review, the comments will be presented to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission. The commission will review the comments and the final transportation program before considering it for approval July 13.