The new Director of the Missouri Department of Transportation is Patrick McKenna. He previously served as the deputy commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.
Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission Chairman Stephen Miller said McKenna was one of more than 25 candidates considered for the job.
Policy makers and others have debated for several years how Missouri could fund its infrastructure needs.
“Many of the same problems are faced in New Hampshire as they are in Missouri with regard to the infrastructure.” said McKenna. “Not enough money for routine maintenance and upkeep has led to a declining condition of that very infrastructure that we all count on every day.”
Lawmakers have considered implementing toll roads and increasing the gas tax to pay for Missouri’s transportation problems. McKenna touts New Hampshire’s turnpike system.
“One of the things we have in that turnpike system is nearly a pristine system for business to thrive on, for citizens to use and for visitors to come to that state, which is very much a tourist state. That turnpike system brings visitors in and creates economic opportunity. That system was nearly bankrupt a decade ago. There’s not a single bridge on that system that is in poor condition today,” said McKenna.
He said toll roads generate about $120 million annually in New Hampshire. That state has about 5,000 miles of roads. Missouri has more than 34,000 miles of roads and 10,000 bridges, with some of them in poor condition.
McKenna starts December 7. He replaces Dave Nichols, who retired in May. Interim Director Roberta Broeker will return to her role as the Department’s Chief Financial Officer.