A long-time critic of the State Transportation Department is renewing claims that the agency used inflated project costs to justify political motivations to take money away from rural areas of the state. And, the Missouri Farm Bureau points to the recent selection process of new Amendment Three projects as proof it is right. Transportation officials that met this week to pick the 29 projects that will be paid for with newly acquired gas tax dollars. And Chief Engineer Kevin Keith says they have been able to stretch those dollars by reducing the requirements on some projects. But Missouri Farm Bureau spokesman Estil Fretwell asks why didn’t the Highway Commission do that back in 1998 instead of abandoning the 15-year highway plan? He believes the answer is: the Highway Commission then wanted to change the allocation of funds to better favor urban areas – a wrong that has not been corrected even with the additional funds from Amendment Three. And, Fretwell says he’s also concerned by the amount of local dollars MoDOT now wants to make a project happen.
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