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During a special workshop held following the September meeting of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, MoDOT officials and the commissioners discussed proposals related to asset management and investment in low volume and minor roads.
MoDOT Assistant to the Chief Engineer Eric Schroeter highlighted efforts by the Commission to expand funding for asset management, noting that for years the revenues remained at a flat rate. “That allowed inflation to eat our lunch,” Schroeter said as funding did not keep up with higher costs of maintaining the roads.
Chief Safety and Operations Officer Becky Allmeroth noted that efforts to maintain the minor and low volume roads also have been hindered by a 40% reduction in MoDOT maintenance facilities, leaving fewer workers to maintain signs, striping, drainage, emergency response, mowing and winter snow removal in addition to upkeep of the pavement conditions.
In addition to a $72.5 million increase in funding in the form of emergency Deficit Asset Management funding that has already been allocated to address pavement condition concerns over the next three years, MoDOT unveiled at the work shop, potential for an additional $15 million each of the next three years in a new SB262 Condition Deficit fund, that potentially would earmark some of the new revenues created by the state fuel tax increase to help improve conditions of the low volume and minor routes.
MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna indicated the funding would go into the STIP allowing the work to be contracted out as opposed to being performed by the all ready maxed out local maintenance crews. He also highlighted the fact these funds would be allocated via a targeted approach, going to the regions with the worst pavement conditions, predominantly in northern Missouri, where the Northwest District has roughly 40% of the state poor pavement conditions while the Northeast District brings the total up to more than 2/3rds with 25-28% of the poor condition roads.