Click to hear KMZU’s Kristie Cross speak with MoDOT Area Engineer with the Northwest District Tonya Lohman:

Tonya Lohman

The Missouri Department of Transportation presented its plan yesterday to continue taking care of the state’s roadways under a reduced budget. Area Engineer for the Northwest District Tonya Lohman said “Missouri’s 325 plan” will focus on primary roads.  “We are outlining a system of priority routes which provides connectivity to all of our major communities throughout the state,” said Lohman, “It typically provides one north-south route and one east-west route in each county, but it makes it a fair and equitable system for the entire state.  So, you don’t see a whole bunch of roads in Kansas City and St. Louis and nothing in Carroll or Linn counties and areas like that.”

The “tough choices ahead” plan calls for the department to use its construction budget to keep those primary roads in good condition.  “It means that you will see limited maintenance to the continuation of what we’ve been doing where we’ve been out pothole patching and not doing contractor overlays,” said Lohman, “We had roads like W that we were lucky enough to get an overlay on last year, but that will not happen in the future.  None of the supplementary system, those other 26,000 miles of roadway that we have, is going to see any type of improvements as far as contractor work.”

According to MoDOT, the state will also lose federal funds beginning in 2017.  “Every $4 that the feds give back to the state, we match with $1,” said Lohman, “Come 2017, 18 months from now fiscally, we will not be able to put $1 to every $4 that comes to us, so we will be giving away roughly $160 million in 2017 and the following year it goes up to almost $400 million.  So, the money that is collected in Missouri, the 18 cents you pay at the pump, is going to go to other states that have the state money to match.”

Missouri residents are invited to view the full “Tough Choices Ahead” plan at the MoDOT website and comment on the proposal.  The commission has taken the plan under consideration and is expected to act on February 4th.