Trouble For Missouri Roads
The state is worried about funding road improvements. After crunching the numbers, they found that in less than three years, MoDOT says it will be in desperate need of more money.
Both the state and federal officials agree that MODOT is facing a serious lack of funding by 2010. MoDOT says it could face a decrease of $350 to $450 million dollars in federal funding in 2009.
MoDOT Director Pete Rahn forecasts a "perfect storm," on the way to Missouri. He says MoDOT is facing decreased state funding, reduced federal money, and a weaker dollar.
"Since 1995, our price that we pay for asphalt has increased 161 percent," said Rahn.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, spending has increased 240 percent, but congestion in metropolitan areas has tripled.
That congestion affects drivers and businesses.
"Road congestion is always a problem for us, you know, you get stressed out on the road a lot. We don't make as much money if we don't sit there and keep rolling," said Kyle Norris, a truck driver.
Unlike most states, Missouri legislators cannot vote to increase road funding. Instead, a majority of Missourians need to approve a proposal, tying the hands of state lawmakers.
"As of today, I cannot present to you a solution that represents 51 percent of the voters of Missouri," said Rahn.
Unless something is done, MoDOT warns of "potentially cataclysmic results." In the next five years, MoDOT predicts an additional 700 thousand trucks will travel on I-70 each year. MoDOT says the average driver pays $120 per year to in fuel taxes to fund Missouri road work.