Missouri Department of Transportation Director Pete Rahn told the Highway Commission today the department will drastically cut costs while trying to roads and bridges in good condition. He says improvements will happen has funding becomes available for construction.

Pete Rahn 031010

Pete Rahn

He says MoDOT will cut 400 salaried positions — no layoffs will be implemented — to save about $203 million over the next five years.

Rahn points to declining state revenues, Congress sitting on the fence on authorizing federal funding, increases in health care and other employee benefits, and, the end of Amendment 3 bonds — something everyone’s seen coming down the pike for the past several years.

Rahn told the commission this new five year plan focuses on keeping the existing transportation system in good shape. And he says the department hopes to meet the current five-year Statewide Transportation Improvement Program goals in place — and meet them.

Rahn prefaced the bad news by pointing out that the public is happy with the department right now, and while it’s not popular to cut back on expansions and improvements, it’s a necessity right now.

He says highway fatalities are at their lowest since 1950; 86 percent of our major roads are in good condition; 89 percent of Missourians say they trust MoDOT to meet its commitments; and he says overall customer satisfaction is at 85 percent.

The new plan will save MoDOT about $81 million over the next five years, Rahn says, by cutting back on work space, consulting, salaried positions, and a hiring freeze. He says another $122 million over the next five years will be achieved by reducing vehicle costs, building costs, information technologies and materials inventory.

Other cut-backs include less mowing, less litter pickup, less frequent sign replacements, less expensive striping on the roads, and shorter-term pavement treatments.

Rahn’s PowerPoint presentation [Download PDF]

AUDIO: Jessica Machetta report 1 min MP3