JEFFERSON CITY - After recently completing a transportation tour around the state, Missouri Speaker of the House Rod Jetton reported he is pleased with changes at the Missouri Department of Transportation and the resulting progress on Missouri's roads.
In an Op-Ed article in the Southeast Missourian, Jetton stated, "I gave MoDOT a hard time when it didn't perform well, and I feel I should brag on MoDOT now that it has things fixed. I am proud of MoDOT and the job it is doing. Seven years ago I never thought I would be able to say that. I can tell you it's great for Missouri. It's great for our economy. And, most importantly, it's great for our families."
Speaker Jetton listed three top indicators that MoDOT has improved its performance:
1. Missouri is saving lives. Missouri had the largest drop in traffic-related fatalities in the nation in 2006, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Of the 868 fewer traffic deaths nationwide in 2006, the Show Me State accounted for 161 of them or 19 percent.
2. MoDOT's actions are earning awards for efficiency, leadership and high quality. MoDOT received the 2007 Missouri Quality Award for excellence in quality leadership in November. In giving the award, the Excellence in Missouri Foundation cited MoDOT's visionary leadership and its use of innovative tools and programs to meet its customers' transportation needs, along with its efforts to improve roads statewide, reduce traffic fatalities and bring projects in on time and within budget.
3. Missouri has the third-lowest administrative costs per mile of highway. Over the past several years, MoDOT has reduced direct administrative costs to just two percent of its annual budget. That's the third lowest administrative cost per mile, according to the California-based, not-for-profit Reason Foundation.
Earlier this month, Jetton toured the state to get a better understanding of Missouri's transportation needs. He also got a firsthand look at some of the transportation projects that have been built with Amendment 3 funds and learned what projects remain in each region that could be constructed if additional transportation revenues were available.
Editor's note: For a copy of Speaker Jetton's Op-Ed article in the Dec. 23, 2007 issue of the Southeast Missourian, go to "MoDOT's highway U-turn."