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Your Opinion: MoDOT apparently selling good equipment as 'surplus'

Your Opinion: MoDOT apparently selling good equipment as 'surplus'

January 11th, 2018 by Sylvester Kesel, Saint Elizabeth in Opinion

Dear Editor:

There is a website where government entities sell used, unwanted, unneeded or defective vehicles, materials, furniture, equipment, etc. called Gov Deals.

Today there is a posting of a "truck mounted attenuator, used." Inventory number 7H51- lot 3

The description is as follows: "One used truck mounted attenuator. Arrow board does not work, but possibility only needs new battery."

There is no mention of physical or mechanical damage to the unit and by looking at the pictures provided of the unit, there is none. I spoke with a person at MODOT Central Office about this item. It seems that one of the last attenuators bought cost a little over $15,000.

My questions are these:

Why is the $15,000 unit being disposed of when the listed problem is "possibility only needs a new battery"? Granted, a forklift battery can cost upwards of $5,000.00 and this battery may fall into that category.

Why has MODOT not actually looked into the problem?

Unless this unit has been physically damaged doing what it is supposed to do, why is it not being repaired instead of disposed of?

According to the person I spoke to at MoDOT Central Office, there is no MoDOT-wide criteria for disposing of, for want of a better word, "surplus." Each district or shed makes their own criteria.

This is not the first time that I have noticed offers for sale by MoDOT that bring questions like these to mind.

There have been instances of property sold to the public that could have been rotated to another district or shed for beneficial use of that property. In some cases, the question comes to mind " why were repairs not made before the property became unusable?" It points out the glaring need for MoDOT wide accountability. I realize that transportation needs to be included in the determination of whether to sell or relocate an item.

It seems to me that while MoDOT is crying about not having enough money to maintain our roads, they are doing little to actually be frugal with the taxpayer's money in the way that they operate their business.

There will be a push for increased funding (tax increase) in the near future and beyond.

I would hope that MoDOT will make a visible effort in the future to make business changes that actually promote fiscal responsibility and best use of their (taxpayers) funds.