MoDOT Stands to Lose Federal Money

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COLUMBIA - MoDOT is going to lose more money unless Congress helps out.

Based on a report released by Transportation of America Wednesday, state and local governments are projected to lose $46.8 billion in federal money for transportation and transit projects next year. It will happen if Congress doesn't put more money into the Highway Trust Fund.

The fund has been used to pay for road construction projects for almost 60 years. With the current money in the fund, it would only pay for existing projects, according to Transportation of America's report.

MoDOT Chief Financial Officer Roberta Broeker said the Highway Trust Fund has almost gone bankrupt several times since 2008.

"The trust fund really has been this close to "can't pay bills" but Congress has continued to transfer general funds," Broeker said.

Broeker said the gasoline tax makes up 70 percent of MoDOT's received revenue. Since people are driving less and the gasoline tax hasn't changed since 1993, transportation funding has taken a hit.

"If lawmakers are not inclined to raise tax rates, taxpayers don't want to pay more taxes, then it stays the way it is," Broeker said. "We've been talking about this problem at a national level for quite some time now."

Broeker said if Congress doesn't put more money in the fund, there will be consequences.

"If there isn't enough money to keep the fund going, then that means projects will have to probably be delayed for some period of time," Broeker said.

Broeker said even the increase of fuel-efficient cars has also decreased the amount of gas people are buying, which has decreased the amount of people paying the gasoline tax.