Missouri turns to New Hampshire for new transportation chief

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JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A New Hampshire transportation official has been chosen as the new director of the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Missouri officials announced Thursday Patrick McKenna will take over the leadership of the agency that oversees the state's roads, bridges and other modes of transportation. McKenna is the deputy commissioner for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

“Patrick McKenna is an experienced professional who will bring strong leadership and vision to this vital post,” Gov. Nixon said. “Improving the safety and reliability of Missouri’s roads and bridges continues to be a top priority of my administration. I look forward to working with members of the General Assembly in the upcoming session to strengthen our roads and bridges and create good jobs for Missouri families.”

He will be coming to Missouri as a funding shortfall is resulting in a backlog of needed repairs to aging bridges and roads.

Missouri has about 600 highway bridges in critical condition that aren't in the state's five-year plan for improvements. That is projected to rise to 1,000 within five years.

The transportation department also has said it will only be able to fully maintain about one-quarter of the state's roads.