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Missouri Commission Calls for More Road Money by 2011

Missouri's currently prolific road repairs could slacken by 2011.
Image from MoDOT
Missouri's currently prolific road repairs could slacken by 2011.

By Steve Bell

Kansas City, MO – The Missouri Highway Commission approved a five-year repair plan designed to meet public criticism of the state's roads and bridges. But the plan runs short of money in 2011, and Chairman Bill McKenna says the state will need some sort of road tax increase to keep its last year from falling to half the funding needed. In the current spate of construction, roads and bridges are receiving $1.6 billion a year, but that would drop to about $700,000 in the final year of the plan, based on anticipated available revenues. Jeff Briggs of MoDOT explained that the state issued bonds against incoming revenues to bring in money ahead of collections - and ran into cost increases related to the ones consumers are finding at the gas pump.

"A lot of our road improvements are made with asphalt products, which are petroleum based, and asphalt prices have gone through the roof in the past year and a half. So it's one of the main reasons things are costing us more to build, as well."

Briggs explained that Missouri speeded up fixing its roads and bridges through bond financing, but the money hits the end of the road in 2011.

"This bond financing - we're going to spend all that money, and then we're going to go back to where we were before - plus we're going to be spending our new Amendment 3 revenues to pay off the bonds."

Briggs says it costs a lot of money to keep up Missouri's road system, the seventh largest in the nation.

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