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Mo. transportation officials approve plan to cut spending

Missouri Department of Transportation director Kevin Keith.
(Missouri Department of Transportation)
Missouri Department of Transportation director Kevin Keith.

Missouri transportation officials have approved a plan to cut positions, close facilities and sell equipment to bolster money for road and bridge projects.

The Highways and Transportation Commission approved the proposal today.

Under the plan, about 1,200 positions will be cut, 131 facilities will be closed and 740 pieces of equipment will be sold.

Transportation Department Director Kevin Keith, recorded via a web-streamed press conference, said the move will save $512 million by 2015.

"We begin tomorrow trying to implement this, trying to put as much money in roads and bridges in Missouri and continuing to work how to fix the long-term issue, and that is getting folks to invest in transportation," Keith said.

Some jobs already have been cut, and officials will use attrition and transfers to minimize layoffs.

The plan also calls for district offices in Macon, Joplin and Willow Springs to close.

About 70 to 80 workers will remain in each of those areas under the supervision of an area engineer.

Maria is the newscast, business and education editor for St. Louis Public Radio.