State Transportation Program Focuses on Fewer Projects, Taking Care of Roads and Bridges
JEFFERSON CITY, MO - Missouri's investment in its roads and bridges continues to shrink, and that means fewer projects to keep them in good condition.
As it does each year, the Missouri Department of Transportation has released its draft Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) for public review and comment. The STIP lists all transportation projects planned by state and regional agencies for a five-year period.
"This year, the draft STIP demonstrates the commitment MoDOT has made to projects that focus on primary routes and taking care of the existing highway system," said MoDOT Interim Director Roberta Broeker. "As the construction budget gets smaller each year, projects in the STIP must reflect only the most essential transportation needs."
The total number of projects in the STIP's five-year highway and bridge construction schedule is 574. That's a decrease of about 250 projects compared to last year's final STIP. The change comes as a result of a construction budget that drops from $596 million in 2016 to $325 million in 2017 and beyond.
Several years ago, the STIP contained over $1 billion of road and bridge construction projects each year, generating jobs, boosting the economy and expanding the safe and efficient movement of people and goods across the state and the country. With diminishing fuel tax revenues and the ever-increasing cost of materials, that scenario is out of reach.
MoDOT has prepared for the dramatic funding drop by adopting "Missouri's 325 System," which separates Missouri's highways into primary and supplementary routes. While existing projects remain commitments, any new projects will be limited to maintaining the 8,000 miles of primary routes in the condition they are in today. The remaining 26,000 miles will receive limited routine maintenance only.
"Despite the progress of the last 10 years, 2017 will bring the funding shortfall MoDOT has predicted for years," said Broeker. "The ramifications of that shortfall will extend to every region of the state and the impact will be significant in terms of safety and economic growth."
The draft 2016-2020 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program lists transportation projects planned by state and regional planning agencies for fiscal years 2016 through 2020 (July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2020). The proposed program is available for public review starting May 6, 2015. Those interested in seeing the program may review it online at www.modot.org or at MoDOT district and regional offices throughout the state. Comments on the program can be submitted by mail, email or by calling MoDOT's customer service center at 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (888-275-6636). The formal comment period ends June 5, 2015.
Following the public review period, the comments will be summarized and presented to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission to consider before acting on the final transportation program in July.