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MODOT Director Warns of Transportation Funding Crisis

In his State of Transportation speech today, the director of Missouri's Department of Transportation told lawmakers a funding crisis is on the horizon. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports from Jefferson City.

In his speech to the Missouri General Assembly, MODOT Director Pete Rahn bragged on his department for working hard on the largest transportation program in the state's history.

But he also warned lawmakers that by the year 2010, the department will see a significant loss in highway construction funds as bonds that are fueling current projects come due.

During his speech, Rahn offered no specific funding solutions.

At a press conference afterward, he told reporters that it will be up to lawmakers to decide what mechanisms will be appropriate to deal with the impending funding crunch.

The chairman of the House Transportation Committee Neal St. Onge says he's eager to begin the conversation about funding options.

But St. Onge says it's unlikely lawmakers will be asking voters for any kind of increase in the next year.

Lawmakers from Southwest Missouri had a wide range of reactions to the speech from MODOT director Pete Rahn.

That's Springfield Democratic Representative Sara Lampe.

She says voters approved Amendment 3, thinking it would provide a funding solution for transportation that would last longer than 5 years.

For other lawmakers from the Ozarks, it's what Pete Rahn didn't say that bothered them.

Republican Representative Maynard Wallace's district covers Howell, Ozark, Stone and Taney counties.

The speech went over well with Republican Representative Bob Dixon of Springfield.

He says he appreciated Pete Rahn's comments and his willingness to speed up projects.

Besides talking about funding, MODOT director Pete Rahn also in his speech called on lawmakers to allow law enforcement to pull over drivers who aren't buckled up...supporters of the bill say the measure doesn't have adequate support in the House to pass.