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Don Koller is a state representative from Summersville, a small, rural town in South Central Missouri. He says drivers in his area depend on a nearby maintenance shed for snow and ice removal from roadways in the winter'and so he doesn't want the highway department to close it.
Because of the state's tight budget, the Missouri department of transportation is considering closing rural maintenance sheds in some reas. These sheds house snow removal equipment, mowers and other equipment that's used to provide transportation services. Polk county Senator Morris Westfall is also concerned about the loss of service in his area.
Department officials emphasize that they are merely studying the possibility of closing the sheds. Department spokesman Jeff Briggs says no sheds will be closed if the department believes it will compromise the services they offer.
Briggs says if the department does decide to close some of its rural maintenance sheds, no employees will be laid off. With two rural awmakers in charge of committees that control the fate of tax increase packages that would benefit the transportation department, Koller says it's not the time to cut back service to rural areas.
The department of transportation has considered scaling back its maintenance shed operations in rural areas in the past. With a slowing economy, Briggs says it's on the table for consideration again.