MoDOT Seeks More Long-Term Funding
JEFFERSON CITY - As the federal government's Highway Trust Fund goes bankrupt, the Missouri Department of Transportation is struggling to find its own revenue.
President Obama signed the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012 at the end of March, which will extend funding for the Highway Trust Fund for the 90 days. The Congressional Budget Office reports, however, that the fund will be insolvent by 2014. As cars become more energy-efficient, the gas-excise tax contributes less and less to the fund.
MoDOT Governmental Relations Director Jay Wunderlich said the department will need $1 billion over the next 20 years in order to maintain bridges, transit and infrastructure projects. Because Missouri is the hub of the nation in terms of highways, railroads, and airports, Wunderlich said MoDOT needs to find some way to bring in more revenue.
Missouri Trucking Association governmental relations director Ross Nichols said "the highways are our offices" for his organization.
"If we want to fix our transportation infrastructure we can't lean on the federal government to do it."
Nichols added that it's difficult for MoDOT and builders to plan for long-term projects while relying on temporary extensions.
"Congress is going to have to do something because there are too many jobs out there -
construction jobs, our highways are deteriorating, our bridges are deteriorating," said Wunderlich.
Wunderlich added that his department would ideally like for Congress to pass a multi-year bill passed with more money in the program, but he believes the likelihood of that is uncertain.