It look's like you don't have Adobe Flash Player installed. Get it now.
The Missouri Department of Transportation continues to hold community briefings to educate the public on its plans for slashing its budget. KSMU’s Justin Lux attended the most recent meeting Tuesday afternoon at the Springfield-Greene County Library Station on North Kansas Expressway.
Only a handful of people from the public showed up at the informational meeting. In the words of Kirk Juranas, one of MoDOT’s district engineers, the Missouri Department of Transportation has had a great run the last few years with its funding.
Juranas says the voter approved Amendment 3 in 2004 was able to produce the Smoother, Safer, Sooner program. That, and federal stimulus dollars allowed the department to operate on an estimated $1.2 billion budget for the last several years.
However, Juranas says MoDOT has exhausted most of those funds.
“We have made good investments. We’ve got 85% of our majors in good condition, we’ve replaced many of our major bridges and done some really neat interchange work, especially here in Springfield,” Juranas says.
Unfortunately, as MoDOT looks at funding in the future, it sees only half of its previous funds.
“We have to take action, I guess to keep it at that $600 million and to do that we’re going to reduce our work force. We’re going to close three district offices, and close 111 maintenance facilities,” he says.
Under the new plan, the closing of the three district offices would reduce the total number in the state to seven and would also mark the first time since 1922 that the districts have seen major change.
One of the offices that would face closure is the Willow Springs district nine headquarters. Many of the residents there have voiced their displeasure with MoDOT’s plans. Juranas says their suggestions will be taken into account.
“I think they brought up a lot of things that maybe hadn’t been considered in the plan before. SO I think the commission will those comments, those recommendations, and put that in with the information we know and come up with their decision on June 8th,” says Juranas.
If the six member commission does pass the initiative in June, some of the recommendations will be introduced immediately, with the plan being fully implemented by December of 2012.MoDOT says it will initially reduce staff through attrition and transfers, but that eventually, layoffs will be necessary. The department estimates that it will have to cut 1,200 workers.
For KSMU, I’m Justin Lux.