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Missouri Department of Transportation

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MoDOT History  

The Highway and Transportation Department was formed when voters approved Constitutional Amendment 2 in November 1979. The amendment merged the previously separate Highways and Transportation departments. Legislation passed in 1996 changed the department's name to the Missouri Department of Transportation. The department operates under a decentralized organization with headquarters in Jefferson City. This General Headquarters office provides staff assistance and functional control for the various departmental tasks in 7 geographical districts.  Each district is under the direction of a district engineer, who is in turn responsible for administering all department activities in the region.

Two divisions within the General Headquarters are responsible for bridge design and highway planning for the state. Decisions about local highway construction, maintenance or operations are made at the district level.

Waterways, transit, aviation and railroads are established as units within the headquarters office and report to a transportation director, who reports to the deputy chief engineer. These units carry out the statewide planning for these modes; there are no counterparts in the districts. The Department of Transportation operates in a quality improvement environment to accomplish its mission to preserve, enhance and support Missouri's Transportation Systems.

MoDOT has responsibilities for five major transportation alternatives available to Missourians -- highways, aviation, waterways, transit and railroads. Those responsibilities include the total operation of the 33,600 mile highway system, including highway location, design, construction and maintenance.

In addition, the department cooperates and coordinates with owners and operators of the four other modal systems in the development and improvement of airports, rail facilities, ports and the operational cost of transit systems. Key here also is the administration of state/federal programs and funds available with these modes.

MoDOT's principal sources of state revenue are motor vehicle fuel taxes, licenses and fees and part of one-half of the motor vehicle sales tax. A small amount of revenue comes from incidental sources as fees from the sale of blueprints and maps. Voter-approved bond issues of $60 million in 1920 and $75 million in 1928 helped fund early road building programs. Bond principal and interest were paid from revenues provided by highway users. All road bonds in Missouri were retired on June 15,1957.

Additional revenue was generated in a special November 6, 1979, state election. Voters approved Amendment 2 -- a measure providing revenue through reallocation of part of one-half of the motor vehicle sales tax revenue to the department. Of this revenue, 75 percent went to the Highways and Transportation Department. Counties received a 10 percent share and cities received the remaining 15 percent.

Missouri voters approved a road and bridge improvement program on April 7, 1987, that increased the motor fuel tax from 7 to 11 cents per-gallon, increased heavy truck registration fees 10 percent and placed a cap on administrative expenses going to other state agencies. In April 1992, in response to new federal transportation legislation and the need to put Missourians back to work, the Missouri Legislature increased the motor fuel tax by 2-cents per gallon in 1992,1994 and 1996.

Coupled with this tax increase was a road and bridge improvement program, the 15-Year Plan, that was projected to complete hundreds of transportation projects across the state from 1992-2007. In November 1998, the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission approved a MoDOT staff recommendation to adopt a more realistic 5-Year Plan. This short-term highway and bridge construction schedule is designed to meet the high priority needs of Missouri. Projecting project costs and funding out over an extended period of years is not feasible.

The Centennial Road Law of 1921 provided for the creation of a system of connected state highways. Under the terms of this law and subsequent legislation and constitutional amendments, more than 33,600 miles of state highways have been constructed and improved through the years. These highways connect principal population centers, county seats and small communities within the state.

The following table gives summary statistics regarding Missouri's state highway system as of November 2010.


System Road Miles
Interstate 1,181
Primary 6,883
Supplementary 25,575

Total 33,639

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Missouri Department of Transportation
Central Office
105 W. Capitol Avenue
Jefferson City, MO 65102
1-888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636)
1-866-831-6277 (Motor Carrier Services)
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