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MoDOT adds projects to 5 year plan for road maintenance

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — MoDOT has added 855 projects to the draft Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, covering five years, an addition the agency credits to an improved funding situation.

The projects funded would focus on maintaining the current transportation system. In the last two years the agency only added a few projects because of the potential for a severe drop in construction budget. But despite the more optimistic revised outlook, MoDOT is still warning that the future could be bleak without more spending on infrastructure.

“This year’s STIP allows us to make up a little bit of the ground that we lost the last two years,” said Machelle Watkins, MoDOT’s transportation planning director. “We’ll be able to deliver more safety projects, and we’ll be able to do a better job of maintaining our assets than previously expected.  However, some areas of the state will still lose ground on the condition of their roads and bridges.”

The 2017-2021 STIP that has $3.97 billion available for construction awards, ranging from $700 million in 2017 to $860 million in 2020 and 2021. The majority of projects – 88 percent – are designed to take care of MoDOT’s existing system.

While the legislature has proposed several long-term funding fixes, nothing has come to fruition this session. The continued issue has MoDOT warning about its ability to perform big fixes as the state’s highways age.

“We have a long-term insufficient funding challenge if Missourians want more from their state’s transportation system,” Watkins said. “And we don’t have the resources available to attack the state’s really big needs, like the reconstruction of Interstate 70.”

This year, the extra funds in the forecast have come from the federal passage of the FAST Act last december and other federal reimbursements.

The current draft Statewide Transportation Improvement Program will be open for public comment until June 10.

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission will review the comments and the final transportation program before considering it for approval at its July 7 meeting.