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MoDOT Unveils 20-Year Plan For Transportation, But State Can't Afford It


The head of the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has unveiled a 20-year plan that's based on more than 12,000 suggestions from the public.

However, the state currently cannot afford to implement it.

MoDOT Director Dave Nichols says it would cost more than $70 Billion to fund all the suggestions they've received from Missouri residents, and that his agency is currently estimated to only have $17 billion available over the next 20 years.

"We're gonna go out and talk to the public again to insure that our draft long-range plan has the right things in it," Nichols said.  "If we need to tweak it, if we need to refine it, we will do that."

Nichols says the 20-year plan consists primarily of a set of principles for how to improve transportation in Missouri over the next 20 years, and that it include four specific goals:

·        Take care of the transportation system and services enjoyed today
·        Keep all travelers safe, no matter the mode of transportation
·        Invest in projects that spur economic growth and create jobs
·        Give Missourians better transportation choices (more viable urban and rural transit, friendlier bike and pedestrian accommodations, improvements in rail, ports and airport operations)

The plan does not contain any commitments to rebuild any specific highways, namely I-70 or I-44, but Nichols says the final version is expected to address ways to upgrade those interstates.  MoDOT's current annual construction budget is around $700 million dollars, and it's projected to drop to $425 million by the year 2019.

Nichols unveiled the plan before the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, which held its monthly meeting Thursday at Union Station in Kansas City.  His presentation can be viewed here.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.