MEXICO – The Missouri Department of Transportation hosted a meeting at the Mexico Courthouse Monday afternoon addressing unfunded transportation needs.
The department said it worked with statewide regional planning partners to identify $1 billion in annual unfunded needs.
Since the initial passage of Missouri’s 12.5 cent fuel tax in July, MoDOT says it has created a list of projects for high priority unfunded road and bridge needs. Worth nearly $4.5 billion, the list is considered in tiers, with tier one with the highest priority.
Tier one includes $543 million and includes projects MoDOT says it could accomplish in the time of the current five-year Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) as federal and state funding levels increase.
Tier two is worth $2.1 billion and includes projects beyond the current STIP timeframe, while tier three includes $2.2 billion of projects that are also beyond the current STIP timeframe.
One of the Tier 1 projects for Boone County includes $62,000 for adding two directional ramps and improving the Interstate 70 and Route 63 interchange in Columbia.
In Cole County, a Tier 2 project includes more than $47,000 in improvements on the Rex Whitton Expressway.
MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna said there are future planning strategies in place from 2022 through 2026 that includes construction program funds, safety, asset management and system improvements.
“For the 2025 fiscal year, the system improvement component will be around $701 million,” McKenna said.
McKenna also mentioned the workforce driver shortage with the department trying to invest $25 million per year to help the 3,000 current employees.
Many of projects come from citizen input to improve bridge safety on Missouri highways.
“Through June of next year, we will be taking comments from projects on the unfunded list to the funded lists. We will be able to take 20-25% of the unfunded needs which is pretty amazing,” McKenna said.
Those who attended Monday’s meeting asked questions such as how each district will get help for the improvements of their roads and also getting their fair share. The department says the allocation of resources hasn’t been unfair and depends on district needs.
Comments on the projects are accepted until Dec. 22 online.