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MoDOT may Turn down Federal Funding if Current Conditions Persist

The Washington Post – March 27, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri must turn down millions of dollars in federal highway funding if the state does not find a way to come up with more of its own money for transportation projects, the Missouri Department of Transportation Director said this week. MoDOT’s budget last year dropped from nearly $1.2 billion to $662 million this year as federal stimulus funding runs out and payment is coming due for many bond-financed highway projects from the last ten years.

Director Kevin Keith said despite drastic cost cutting – $300 million in the next five years – by fiscal year 2017, the department will not have enough money to match its federal highway dollars. If federal funding remains steady, this amounts to $453 million in 2017, and hundreds of millions more in the ensuing years.

“By trying to manage differently, get smaller, save resources, we think we can buy five years where things will be, at best, okay. If nothing changes, as we get into ’15 and ’16, then we’re looking at a crisis. At some point, we’re going to have to find funding – not financing” through debt”, Keith said.

Two points in this article are worth mentioning. Can we all repeat after Kevin? “At some point, we’re going to have to find funding – not financing.” I guess it’s our elected officials that need to repeat this message. All we’ve been offered for years from Washington is more ways to borrow with no prospect of new money.

The one temporary exception was the stimulus money-ARRA funds. Missouri is like virtually every other state; the ARRA money masked the state of their dismal financial affairs. Now that it is gone, the façade is gone and we see the truth. TW  The Tom Warne Report