MoDOT vs. I-70: Show Me the Money
MoDOT will need to find other ways to foot the bill down the road.
In fact, less than one year down the road is when MODOT's current plan runs out to make Missouri highways smoother, safer, sooner.
The new initiative is part of $7.3 billion plan to complete 866 highway construction projects in the next 5 years.
"In 2005, we've been able to take several big bites out of this huge beast," said Director Pete Rahn. The beast includes I-70.
"We know the pricetag for it is about $3.5 million. We have no means to pay for that improvement," he admitted.
The improvement would totally rebuild I-70. However, some drivers have noticed smaller improvements MoDOT already has made.
"I'm very pleased with I-70," said Phil Harris. "Either way you go, east, west, they've made a big impact."
Others say it's not enough.
"It seems to be degenerating," complained Larry Fowler. "I drive it quite a bit because I come in there most of the time. It's bumpy."
It might stay bumpy as MoDOT looks for funding after 2010. The bond money fueling improvements will be gone by 2009 and federal money will be tapped out by then, too.
"It is an appropriate time to begin conversations so, hopefully we can reach the consensus, say, 'This is how we're going to pay for our highway system,'" said Rahn.
In his State of Transportation speech Tuesday, Rahn told lawmakers MoDOT would meet Gov. Blunt's challenge to complete Missouri's Smooth Roads Initiative by the end of this year.