(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) MoDOT's planning meeting Wednesday at Remington Nature Center was the third stop on a nine-city tour around the state.
"We have a $125 billion dollar asset that our citizens own,” MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna, told about 50 people gathered in a conference room. "But we have about 900 million to spend on it."
McKenna noted MoDOT's planning process has always included stakeholders throughout the state. Wednesday's meeting scheduled four planning groups to make presentations, including the Mo-Kan Regional Council.
That group serves Andrew, Buchanan, Clinton and DeKalb counties in Missouri and Atchison and Doniphan counties in Kansas.
Mo-Kan's Bob Burnett worked at engineering and planning firm Snyder & Associates before retiring. But before that, Burnett worked highway maintenance.
“Road-and-bridge maintenance was my life,” he said. “But the roads are now too old and funding hasn’t kept up. One day we are going to have to bite the bullet and pay to get the roads fixed.”
MoDOT and regional transportation planners said they hope that “one day” is the general election in November. Proposition D proposes a fuel tax increase of 10 cents per gallon. The measure is an outgrowth of the Legislature’s 21st Century Missouri Task Force. The group responsible for identifying ways to improve the state’s infrastructure.
McKenna noted Missouri has one of the largest transportation networks in the country but ranks in the bottom five for spending on roads and bridges.
“It’s vital to everything we do as a community, as a region, as a state, and as a nation,” he said.
Burnett said because it is the backbone of everything we do, it is often taken for granted.
“If you got to the grocery store for a loaf of bread, how do you think it got there? It was a road.”