Transportation commission approves maintenance-focused five-year plan

  

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission approved a primarily maintenance-focused five-year plan for highways and bridges in the Show-Me State.

The  2019-2023 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program is the Missouri Department of Transportation’s list of projects that are planned by state and regional agencies. The draft STIP was released in June for public review and comment.

“The STIP represents our commitment to Missourians of the projects that will be developed and delivered over the next five years,” MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna said.

The STIP builds on MoDOT’s long-range transportation plan, financial forecast, asset management plan and the prioritization of project needs at the local level by planning partners.

The plan estimates revenue increases from $2.3 billion in the state fiscal year 2019 to $2.5 billion in state FY 2023, primarily because of motor vehicle sales taxes and federal reimbursements. Expenditures are estimated to grow from $2.4 billion in FY 2019 to $2.5 billion in FY 2023.

The STIP details an annual construction program of $900 million per year for the five-year period, up from $850 million in Fiscal Year 2018. According to the plan, MoDOT has completed 4,568 projects in the last decade worth $12.6 billion, coming 6.7 percent under budget.

Transportation Planning Director Machelle Watkins said the 2019-2023 program includes 1,319 projects with the majority of the projects focusing on maintaining the system in its current condition. On average, this STIP annually invests in 586 lane miles of interstate pavements, 1,065 miles of major route pavements, 2,754 miles of minor route pavements and 172 bridges.

Missouri has the nation’s seventh largest state highway system with 33,856 miles of roadways and 10,403 bridges but ranks 46th nationally in revenue per mile.

“At current funding levels, we are able to maintain the system in the condition it is in today,” McKenna said. “But if we want to improve the system, improve safety, and deliver projects that enable economic development and create jobs, it will require additional investment.”

The STIP also takes into account Commission action from January that increases cost-share funding to $30 million for 2021, $35 million for 2022, $40 million for 2023, and $45 million for 2024 and thereafter. The purpose of the cost-share program is to build partnerships with local entities to pool efforts and resources in order to deliver state highway and bridge projects.

In January, the Commission also updated the distribution method for safety funds. Some $35 million is available each year for safety funding, with $3 million dedicated to statewide initiatives.

Beginning in 2021, the remaining $32 million will be distributed to MoDOT’s seven districts based on a three-year average of the number of fatalities and serious injuries on the state highway system. Currently, district safety funds are distributed based on a three-year crash average that includes fatal, injury and property-damage-only crashes.

Watkins said focusing MoDOT’s efforts on areas with high fatalities and serious injuries is a key strategy for reducing the number of deaths on the Missouri transportation system.

View the full plan online here.

Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at alisha@themissouritimes.com.