LEE'S SUMMIT - In the last ten years, great progress has been made to improve Missouri's transportation system, due largely to funding from Amendment 3 and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
But the sense of satisfaction that comes from traveling on those smooth, safe roadways may soon be forgotten. Missouri's transportation system is in the midst of a drastic funding shortage, and unless a solution is found, the situation will only get worse.
Missouri's construction program has dropped from an average of $1.2 billion in recent years to about $700 million. It's barely enough to maintain the existing system, much less tackle the projects that create jobs, increase safety, ease congestion and foster economic development. Additionally, MoDOT has reduced staff, facilities and equipment to direct as much funding as possible to roads and bridges.
MoDOT Planning Manager Lee Ann Kell said that many of the larger construction projects in the pipeline, such as interchange improvements at Interstate 35/Route 291 in Liberty ($12.6 million), U.S. 71/Route 291 in Harrisonville ($17.9 million) and Interstate 29/Tiffany Springs Parkway in Kansas City ($13.6 million) are made possible by sharing the costs with cities and transportation development districts.
"For future, our customers will notice that district projects in this program are largely those that take care of our existing system," said MoDOT Planning Manager Lee Ann Kell. "We simply no longer have the resources to solely tackle big projects that enhance our transportation system."
The draft 2013-2017 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program lists transportation projects planned by state and regional planning agencies for fiscal years 2013 through 2017 (July 1, 2012 through June 30, 3017). The proposed program is available for public review beginning May 2. Those interested in seeing the program or offering comments can contact MoDOT's customer service centers at 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (888-275-6636). The program is also available on MoDOT's web site, http://www.modot.org/, and at the Kansas City District Office located at 600 NE Colbern Road in Lee's Summit. The formal comment period ends June 1, 2012.
Following the public review period, the comments will be presented to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission. The commission will review the comments and the final transportation program before considering it for approval at its July 11 meeting in Washington.
For more information about other MoDOT projects, please visit MoDOT's website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity
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