With a reduced $325 million budget coming in 2017, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission approved a plan last week that focuses the state’s resources on only a fraction of its 34,000 miles of highways.
"This action truly sets the stage to transform Missouri's transportation system and dramatically change the way we do business," Commission Chair Stephen Miller said. "After years of making great progress on the condition of Missouri's highways, we now face a future of watching our roads and bridges deteriorate."
Called Missouri’s 325 System, the plan calls for the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) to focus on keeping approximately 8,000 miles of roads that are designated as primary roads in their current condition. The rest of the state's roadways and bridges -- approximately 26,000 miles -- will get limited routine maintenance, including flushing and sealing bridge decks, pothole filling, and similar tasks.
“Missouri has the seventh largest highway system in the nation, but we rank 46th in revenue per mile," MoDOT Director Dave Nichols said. "This plan prioritizes what we do with that shrinking revenue, but the only way to truly change Missouri's status is to find a long-term funding solution.”
MoDOT estimates that an additional $160 million annually could help the department to match federal funds and to take substantially more action to maintain roadways.