RICHMOND, Mo. — Missouri is moving forward with its five-year plan to improve the state’s transportation infrastructure system.
On Wednesday, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission approved the 2020-2024 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The plan lists transportation projects for fiscal years 2020 through 2024 — July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2024.
“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. “However, this STIP recognizes the serious consequences to our plans if policy makers in Washington are unable to fix the Highway Trust Fund. In Missouri, that puts $613 million of projects including 5,423 lane-miles of roadway improvements and 55 bridge projects in jeopardy in FY 2021 and 2022. We have worked with our planning partners to determine these at-risk projects and offer a qualified commitment of project delivery.”
The STIP is the Missouri Department of Transportation’s list of 1,872 highway and bridge projects that are planned by state and regional agencies. The draft STIP was released in June for public review and comment. It focuses on taking care of the state’s existing transportation system by annually investing in 1,014 lane miles of interstate pavements, 1,346 miles of major route pavements, 2,652 miles of minor route pavements and 213 bridges.
Missouri has the nation’s seventh largest state highway system with 33,859 miles of roadways and 10,385 bridges, but ranks 48th nationally in revenue per mile.
The STIP details an annual construction program that averages $924 million per year for the five-year period. But it is insufficient to meet the state’s unfunded high-priority transportation needs that are estimated in MoDOT’s “Citizen’s Guide to Transportation Funding” at an additional $825 million per year.
This STIP includes funding for the “Focus on Bridges” program that was initiated by Gov. Mike Parson and funded by the Missouri General Assembly approved budget with a one-time $50 million injection of general revenues for the rehabilitation and/or reconstruction of 45 bridges. The money that was previously dedicated to those bridge projects will be freed up for additional improvements to the state system of roads and bridges.
This STIP was developed assuming federal funding levels consistent with the FAST Act, which expires in September 2020. A forecast assuming a reduced level of federal funding, consistent with Highway Trust Fund revenues, was also prepared. MoDOT and planning partners worked together to identify specific projects that would be delayed, should federal funding be reduced.
The draft STIP also includes detailed project information for non-highway modes of transportation and a section detailing planned operations and maintenance activities for the next three years. This additional information is provided to allow Missourians to more easily see how their transportation funding is invested.
Alisha Shurr was a reporter for The Missouri Times and The 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.