MoDOT

Missouri Department of Transportation

Missouri has the seventh largest highway system in the country, but it ranks 46th nationally in funding per mile. That ranking could drop still more. Last year, the Missouri Department of Transportation spent $700 million on road improvements— in two years, that amount will be cut my more than half. 

Dave Nichols has been with the Missouri Department of Transportation for 31 years, serving as director for the last two. He recently announced his retirement, effective May 1.

Nichols spoke with Up To Date host Steve Kraske about the hard choices the department will have to make and the future of the state's transportation systems. 

Interview highlights:

On the gap between the current and future budget:  

It takes about $485 million just to maintain the system in the condition the roads are in today, so we're $160 million short [with a $325 million budget in 2016]. If there are any capital improvements, any additional work that needs to be done, that's on top of that. It's a pretty big gap, and that's what we're talking about with the legislature right now — how do we take care of that gap that we have.

In 2017, we will not be able to match $167 million of our federal dollars. In 2018, that number grows to $400 million and last thing any of us in Missouri want to do is have tax dollars that are paid from Missourians go to Washington and not come back to our state.

John Russell / Flickr-CC

Last week, Missouri voters solidly rejected Amendment 7, which would have increased the sales tax by three-quarters of a cent for 10 years to fund roads and bridges.

On Monday's Up to Date, we take a look at why voters reacted the way they did and what lawmakers might do to pay for those transportation items now.

Guest:

  • Rep. Dave Schatz, Chair of the Missouri House Transportation Committee
MODOT

Voters will be asked on the Aug. 5 Missouri ballot if they want to increase the statewide sales tax by ¾ of a cent for 10 years. The money will be used to improve statewide transit infrastructure including roads and highways, bridges and public transit projects. The money raised will not be allowed to be used on any other kinds of projects.

Ballot language:

MoDOT Prepares For The Next Winter Storm

Feb 7, 2014

The state of Missouri is shipping fresh supplies to storage barns in Kansas City, but there is no guarantee there will be enough to last until spring.

A tractor trailer loaded with salt pulled into a Lee’s Summit storage dome Thursday within minutes of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's arrival for a press conference.

The dome was last filled six weeks ago, but it was virtually empty after recent snowstorms.

Missouri Department of Transportation Director, David Nichols says salt is being shipped into and then around the state to meet demand.

KCUR

Kansas Citians are pretty accustomed to snow days after the past 12 months.

A year ago, a winter storm clobbered Kansas City with 20.5 inches of snow.

The February snowfall, which made it into the record books at the National Weather Service,  preceded several other severe snow storms that hit Kansas City in 2013.

A new railroad bridge over the Osage River between St. Louis and Jefferson City is now open for both passenger and freight train use.

The new bridge cost $28 million, with most of the funds coming from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Federal Railroad Administrator Joe Szabo says the project came in under budget and ahead of schedule.

“We now have double-track running the entire stretch from Jefferson City to St. Louis, and delays caused by rail traffic funneling into a single track over the old bridge are now a thing of the past,” said Szabo.

modot_stl_photos/Flickr-CC

The Missouri Department of Transportation just released its 20-year plan for the state’s roads and bridges. MoDOT expects it will have about $17 billion dollars to pay for the plan. However, if it completed all the maintenance and construction suggested by Missouri citizens in a recent survey, it would need a budget of $70 billion. 

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk about the plan and how the state will prioritize its future projects.

Guest:

GoogleEarth

Drivers navigating the heavily commuted interchange of Highways 350 and I-470 Monday morning will find a different landscape than they encountered  just before the weekend. 

Heavy concrete chippers spent the last two-and-a-half days taking down bridge decks.

Theresa L Wysocki / Flickr--Creative Commons

So imagine you’ve got a budget for home improvements. You’ve pared it down to the bare bones. You know exactly how much you can afford and you won’t spend any more than that. Now cut that budget in half. What things do you leave behind? And what are your top priorities?

This exact situation is happening to the Missouri Department of Transportation. With their budget being slashed to just about half, MoDOT is preparing to enter maintenance mode.

Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

Missoui Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, delivered a mixed report card Friday on the state budget and other bills passed by the Republican-controlled Missouri General Assembly this week.

While he complimented lawmakers for increasing funding for K-12 schools and higher education, he also criticized them for passing legislation that would cut state income tax rates for individuals and corporations.  He told reporters that the bill would gut state revenues by more than $800 million.

jimmywayne / flickr

A so-called “Blue Ribbon” committee created by the Missouri House to examine the state’s transportation needs has released its report, one day before the start of this year’s legislative session.  But the House Speaker doesn’t agree with some of the options panel members endorsed.

Those options include raising either the state’s fuel tax or creating a sales tax dedicated to transportation needs.  House Speaker Tim Jones says he prefers exploring options that are “revenue neutral.”

I-70 Construction Detours Set To Start Mid-Week

Jun 11, 2012
MoDot

One of the heaviest-traveled Kansas City interstate highway connections will close on Wednesday morning, June 13th, after rush hours.

Truck Pillow Eases Blow Of Crash

May 30, 2012
MoDOT

The simple science of a shock absorbing bumper undoubtedly saved drivers of two trucks from grave injuries this afternoon on I-70 some 60 miles east of Kansas City.  That’s the summation from MoDOT.

The Kansas City Council delays voting on a daytime curfew.  MoDOT considers expanding rail service. Missouri Senators battle over education funding.  That and more news from KCUR.

A daily digest of headlines from KCUR.

  • Governor Nixon: Avoid Tuition Hikes Despite Budget Cuts
  • MODOT Looks To Private Sector Not Voters For I-70 Tolls
  • Health Group Pushes Farmers To Reduce Antibiotic Use

Cell Ban Looms For Truckers

Dec 14, 2011
bigstock

The Missouri Department of Transportation is swift to react to a new regulation prohibiting drivers of large commercial vehicles from using cell phones. 

The Missouri agency says the rule from the National Transportation Safety Board will be enforced effective January 3rd.  It will prohibit truck and bus drivers from reaching for, holding or dialing any mobile phone while they are  behind the wheel of the moving vehicle.

Road Builders Accused of Polluting

Sep 2, 2010

Kansas City, KS – The Environmental Protection Agency accuses MoDOT of failing to protect streams along two highway construction jobs. Inspectors allegedly found sediment was allowed to seep into a half dozen creeks and unnamed tributaries in Camden and Wayne Counties in central Missouri.

The waterways flow into Lake of the Ozarks.

Kansas City, MO – KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Engineers at the Missouri Department of Transportation closed the westbound I-470 interchange to westbound I-435, as well as northbound Route 71 to westbound I-435 at 3 Trails Crossing yesterday. The damage from a sink hole at that location has expanded, making it necessary to immediately close the roadway.

Economic Toll Taken On Missouri Bridges, Highways

Jul 1, 2010

Jefferson City, MO – You won't see nearly as many bulldozers and paving trucks working to fix and expand Missouri highways. The upcoming five-year construction program approved today cuts away two thirds of what was spent last year.

What was approved by Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission barely has funds to take care of what's here now.

Drivers' Relief Nearing For Bridge Crossing

Apr 9, 2010
photo courtesy of MoDot

Kansas City, Mo. – The new Missouri River bridge replacing the Paseo span will be close enough to completion to carry traffic by year's end.

MoDot will start shifting lanes of traffic from the Paseo to the Bond Bridge by fall. Highway officials say the Bond won't be finished until next year, but at least one northbound lane should be open by Christmas.

Most visible work now is installing cables hooking the highly visible pylon to the floor of the new bridge. The pylon stands more than 300 feet tall and supports the entire structure.