ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – More dire warnings about the lack of funding to fix crumbling roads and bridges across Missouri.
Missouri Highway and Transportation Committee chair Rudy Farber says it may be a silver lining for drivers this summer travel season, but there are going to be far fewer work zones across the state.
“The (highway) program has dropped off from something in the neighborhood of $1.2 billion to our current program of about $700 million,” Farber said, “and will be declining even further.”
Missouri Department of Transportation director Kevin Keith recently warned that the agency will now likely have to find some $300 million in cost cuts over the next five years to free up enough money to match the federal highway dollars due to the state, or risk losing that funding as well.
A frustrated-sounding Keith told KMOX News this week that there’s been a dearth of new ideas from Washington while Missouri continues to struggle.
“Most people are driving cars that get twice the miles-per-gallon that they were getting just a few years ago…you can buy the first electric cars…and fuel taxes haven’t changed in this country for twenty years,” Keith complained. “It doesn’t work any more.”
The state’s current construction budget is around $660 million, nearly half of last year’s amount.
Even after upping the amount of cuts from $200 million to around $300 million, Keith said MoDOT will won’t have enough money to match its share of federal highway dollars, starting with the 2017 fiscal year.
“Transportation is too important to all of us every day to let it crumble under our feet,” Keith said. “We’ll just keep talking about that until we figure out how we’re going to fix it.”