Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission Chairman Stephen Miller said recently that even though the Missouri Department of Transportation (MDOT) has received unexpectedly high revenues, it doesn't mean the state's long-term transportation outlook is good.
"State revenues from motor fuel taxes, motor vehicle sales taxes and motor vehicle and driver-licensing fees are up 4.5 percent from the amount projected," Miller said in a published commentary. "The good news is the 4.5 percent increase means MDOT has received $47 million more than anticipated. You will recall MDOT's last financial forecast predicted that if nothing changed, we'd need approximately $42 million in state matching funds to avoid the loss of approximately $167 million in federal funds in 2017. This revenue increase means MDOT should be able to make its federal match in 2017."
The revenues have given MDOT a reprieve from the upcoming budget crunch, which may threaten the department’s federal funding, but the chairman doesn't see this news as an excuse to avoid pushing for more revenue.
"Simply scraping by and
just barely meeting federal fund matching does not address Missouri's
long-range transportation needs,” Miller said. “Further, the status of
2018 remains unclear since this is a one-time increase for MDOT.
Missouri's transportation future is uncertain and will remain so until
stable, reliable long-term funding is put in place."