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MODOT Budget Cut Short by Federal Funds and Less Fuel Purchased

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- While many road projects around the Ozarks are underway, this could be the last full season before budget cuts stop progress.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- While many road projects around the Ozarks are underway, this could be the last full season before budget cuts stop progress.

MODOT’s budget is funded mostly by two fuel taxes, one from the federal level and one on the state side.

With less money coming in and the seventh most highway miles in the country, the numbers are not balanced.

Andy Mueller is an Assistant District Engineer for MODOT and says the types of cars on our roads is impacting the work being done to maintain them.

"People across the United States are getting better mileage and driving less to save money."

"Since federal tax and Missouri fuel tax are both based on a certain amount of pennies per gallon, the less gallons that are used, the less pennies there is," says Mueller.

According to MODOT, 22% of their budget is funded by a 17 cent per gallon fuel tax. Since 2010, the amount brought in has dropped to $489 million, a $13 million decrease.

"The fuel tax just based on a pennies per gallon will never again be a growing revenue stream."

Compared to our bordering states, Missouri has the lowest fuel tax rate but the most highway miles to maintain.

"That is not enough money to maintain the system as it currently is."

Mueller says less funding has forced them to stop adding much needed projects in the Ozarks.

"Bridges that we are normally able to replace now when they get old and wore out, we'll have to close."

In a town hall meeting last week, Senator Claire McCaskill talked about the need to repair roads and bridges in our state.

"We are tenth in the country for having the most structurally deficient bridges," explained Senator McCaskill.

Mueller says the cost of materials is also hurting their projects, too.

"The materials that we use, concrete, steel, asphalt, have doubled and tripled since 1992."

As hybrid and fuel efficient vehicles become more popular, finding a solution is even more critical.

"It has to be a growing revenue stream to keep up with cost of doing business, its just that simple."

"You don't pay for the transportation system that you drive on, at least not in Missouri."

MODOT works on a five year plan when it comes to projects. Mueller says the last project they'll start, if no solution is found, could be the Highway 60 project between Springfield and Rogersville.
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