"I-70 has got to be addressed," said Jeff Briggs of MoDOT. "It's worn out and there are not enough lanes."
Interstate 70 is one of the most well traveled roads in the country and traffic isn't getting any better. MoDOT says that large trucks take up 40 percent of the traffic on the highway and that large truck traffic is increasing three times faster than normal commuter traffic.
"In Columbia we are running 70,000 vehicles a day and if everybody is moving, it works, but if somebody has a flat tire, or you get a wreck it just plugs up immediately and that's because of lack of infrastructure," said Republican Senator Bill Stouffer.
But funding such projects is the real challenge. At the meeting, Stouffer discussed his concerns about both I-70 and I-44. He suggested to use a one-cent sales tax to raise $7 billion in order to widen the roads to three or four lanes each way. An alternate plan would include a half-cent sales tax along with a gas tax to pay for widening I-70 as well as smaller roads. This plan would need to raise $4 billion.
Either way, officials say they need to figure it out soon.
"We have to do something because the status quo isn't gonna cut it," Briggs said.
Participants didn't reach a decision today. MoDOT hopes more of these meetings occur in the future to raise awareness of funding issues.
Select a station to view its upcoming schedule: