No formal offer is on the table, but the State Transportation Commission is inching closer to making that offer to a candidate to replace Missouri Department of Transportation Director Peter Rahn.

State Transportation Commission members discussed the search for a new Transportation Department director during a teleconference Wednesday morning. Commission chairman Rudy Farber acknowledges whoever the commission chooses will have to handle comparisons with the charismatic and successful Pete Rahn who resigned in March.

“Well, I think anytime a successful leader is replaced, you always have that set of circumstances arising,” Farber tells the Missourinet.

The new director also will face falling funding that could reduce MoDOT to a maintenance agency unable to pay for new highway and bridge construction. Rahn struck just such a theme in the last couple of years of his directorship. Rahn often likened the end of bond funding to falling off a cliff. An injection of money from Washington through economic stimulus funding kept construction moving. That, though, will soon be gone.

Farber hesitates to offer a guess as to when the commission might settle on a Rahn successor.

“This is a very fluid process,” Farber says with a chuckle. “I feel confident that we’ll have another meeting. The exact timing of that, at this point, I do not know.”

Farber says the commission is looking primarily for someone with leadership skills, preferably in the transportation industry. He adds that a good speaking ability and public relations skills will be necessary as the director of MoDOT attempts to awaken Missourians to the dire financial needs of the state transportation system. The director also must be able to manage an agency of 6,000 employees.

The commission has had help in the search from Dale Myer of Grant Cooper and Associates of St. Louis.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:60 MP3]