MoDOT looks for innovation in infrastructure funding

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Transportation discussed innovative ways to fund infrastructure Thursday during the Missouri Chamber of Commerce's annual Conference on Transportation.

Leaders in Missouri's business and transportation industries heard and discussed ideas currently under consideration. 

Among them were raising Missouri's fuel tax, raising Missouri's tobacco tax, creating more public-private partnerships with businesses, and using local cost sharing to fund infrastructure projects.

The new director of MoDOT, Patrick McKenna, said the agency has been creative in its use of the funding it does have. 

"Were ranked 47th nationally in terms of funding for that infrastructure, by mile of road. So, we have not done a great job of keeping par." McKenna said, "We have made a lot of innovations and we've stretched that money very far. MoDOT is innovative it does do the best it can with the resources it has."

However, McKenna and Missouri Chamber of Commerce President Danial Mehan said it is time for MoDOT, Missouri businesses, and Missouri legislature to think of new ways to pay for infrastructure. 

Mehan said, "We're open to considering any option out there right now. It's something that's needed. It's something we frankly have neglected for a few years."

Mehan said he still believes the most viable option to increase infrastructure funding is raising the gas tax. 

McKenna said he hopes the conference facilitates more ways to fund MoDOT aside from legislation.