© 2023 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

New MoDOT director talks fuel tax, federal highway dollars, toll roads and more

Patrick McKenna, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation
Missouri Department of Transportation

Patrick McKenna is now into his second week as director of the Missouri Department of Transportation.

He recently served as deputy director of New Hampshire's transportation department and before that worked as chief financial officer for the U.S. Senate.  McKenna sat down last week with St. Louis Public Radio's Marshall Griffin and talked about some of the challenges he now faces as MoDOT director.

McKenna succeeded interim director Roberta Broeker, who took over this past spring following the retirement of former MoDOT director Dave Nichols.

McKenna said:

  • He is being briefed by transportation commission members on Missouri's transportation picture and the needs the state has.
  • The recently passed $305 billion federal transportation funding bill signed by President Obama will help. But he said the "split of the primary and secondary could be a very, very damaging thing over time."  That's a reference to the Missouri 325 system, the scaled-back road and bridge maintenance program adopted earlier this year by highway and transportation commissioners.
  • One of his early tasks is to work on proposals to make to Missouri lawmakers.
  • Missouri needs to address critical and aging bridges. The map of bridges that are being watched looks as though the state has measles. Some bridges are restricted and may have to be closed, which can be compared to having a power outage in part of the state
  • Toll roads are used in New Hampshire and they are well maintained by the users.
  • Urban and alternate transportation issues, including mass transit, airports and bike routes should be part of the state's plan as they are key to development.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

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

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.