The Missouri Department of Transportation has undergone a number of changes in the recent months. Click to hear KMZU’s Kristie Cross talk to Community Relations Specialist Marcia Johnson:
Citing their belief that MoDOT needed to reorganize, lawmakers in Jefferson City cut the department’s budget. Community Relations Specialist Marcia Johnson says this action will have a deep impact on the department’s ability to maintain state infrastructure and that simple maintenance is sometimes not enough.
“We’re doing the best we can with what we’ve got, but no it’s not going to be enough,” said Johnson,” There are structures, such as bridges, that are built for a certain lifetime or I-70 which is built to last a certain number of years. What we find is that as traffic and freight increases, we want to keep that traffic moving, but it takes its wear and tear on the roadways. This is especially true in northwest Missouri where we have to use a lot more salt than our southern neighbors.”
During the campaign season, Governor Jay Nixon said the staffing cuts were made to insure funds could be spent on projects themselves. “We’re trying to focus and make sure that the dollars available for transportation and the federal dollars that come our way are spent in maintenance, repair, and building roads and bridges and making them safer,” said Nixon,” That’s why necessary decisions were made to downsize MoDOT as far as the number of employees. Over the next few years, over half a billion dollars or more can be spent on those roads and bridges.”
As part of this effort, six former MoDOT maintenance facilities and properties will be sold at auction in December. The list includes locations in Sullivan, Carroll, Daviess, DeKalb, Nodaway, and Atchison Counties.