State Transportation Program Focuses on Preservation of Existing System
JEFFERSON CITY, MO An improved funding situation has allowed the Missouri Department of Transportation to increase its ability to take of care of its existing transportation system. That's reflected in the draft Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, or "STIP," which was presented to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.
Whereas the last two years, only a handful of new projects were added to the rolling five-year plan because of a potential severe drop in the MoDOT construction budget, changing economic conditions make this year's STIP more robust. Increased state revenues, predictable federal funding as a result of Congress' passage of the FAST Act in December 2015, and MoDOT's ongoing efforts to seek federal reimbursement for preventive maintenance activities have resulted in more funding for the STIP.
Consequently, 855 projects were added to the 2017-2021 STIP that has $3.97 billion available for construction awards, ranging from $700 million in 2017 to $860 million in 2020 and 2021. The overwhelming majority of projects - 88 percent - are designed to take care of MoDOT's existing system.
"This year's STIP allows us to make up a little bit of the ground that we lost the last two years," MoDOT Transportation Planning Director Machelle Watkins said. "We'll be able to deliver more safety projects, and we'll be able to do a better job of maintaining our assets than previously expected. However, some areas of the state will still lose ground on the condition of their roads and bridges. We have a long-term insufficient funding challenge if Missourians want more from their state's transportation system," she said. "And we don't have the resources available to attack the state's really big needs, like the reconstruction of Interstate 70."