There are a lot of variables when it comes to how much funding the Missouri Department of Transportation gets each year. The Highway and Transportation Commission looks at all angles. Commissioner Lloyd Carmichael of Springfield says now that the legislative session has convened, the commission is in a wait-and-see mode and is prepared to work with legislators on the budget challenges ahead.
Commission Chairman Rudy Farber of Neosho says it’s much the same at the federal level right now. Farber says the change in leadership at the Congressional level means a transportation authorization bill ceases to move forward. Representative Jim Oberstar, a Minnesota Democrat, was pushing a bill through that would fully authorize MoDOT’s spending … that was before he was defeated by in his bid for a 19th term by Republicn Chip Cravaack in November. Now Representative John Mica, a Florida Republican, is the chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The Commission says revenues for roads and bridges are constitutionally protected, but about 11 million dollars a year for all other modes of transportation can vary. AmTrack receives about 8.1 million of that.
Money from a 2004 Constitutional Amendment has run out, cutting MoDOT’s project funding to about a third of what it has been in recent years.
But … as Dave Nichols, Director of Program Delivery for MoDOT tells the Highway and Transportation Commission … there is one bright spot. He says about $76 million worth of work has been completed for $58 million. That’s $18 million under budget, about 24 percent. For year-to-date totals, he says, about $371 million of budgeted projects has been awarded at $310 million — some $61 million under budget.