An independent transportation group, called the Blue Ribbon Panel, will present its findings to the State Transportation Commission on Tuesday. The Transportation Commission selected the 12 members of the panel to review the Missouri Department of Transportation’s operations. The Blue Ribbon Panel has spent nearly 10 months investigating the practices and procedures of MODOT. Panel member Larry Stobbs, the former St. Joseph Mayor, says it boils down to something many involved in transportation have been saying for a long time. He says everybody the panel talked to understood two things: that Missouri has serious transportation needs and it’s going to take more revenue to meet those needs. Stobbs says the public won’t give MODOT more money to fix roads unless credibility improves and credibility won’t improve until the roads are fixed. The panel has approved a preliminary report. In it, the panel makes several recommendations to help with the agency’s image including reorganizing top management, but stops short of recommending the firing for current Transportation Director Henry Hungerbeeler. And Stobbs says MODOT needs to do a better job of selling itself to the public. Stobbs acknowledges it could be a while to see confidence in MODOT rise even after the changes are made.Stobbs expects the Transportation Commission and MODOT officials will be receptive to the panel’s recommendations.
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