I Cry Over MoDOT's Spilled Milk
August 29, 2011
MoDOT tends to have a hard time admitting to mistakes. Selling bonds was apparently considered a mistake in 2003 when they stopped before selling half of all they were authorized to sell. Only a year later, Amendment 3 was passed, and with the new money available to them, MoDOT obligated every bit of it to sell new bonds, seemingly to impress Missourians with fast, major projects in the hopes that legislators and taxpayers would send new funding to MoDOT in gratitude. The new funding never materialized, and now MoDOT is paying back the bonds at about $219 million per year, which is more than they receive annually from Amendment 3 funds. So their spending money now is less than before Amendment 3. Now they fear that they are so short on money that they soon won't be able to match federal funds, so they implemented their Bolder Five Year Plan consisting of huge cuts to their workforce, equipment, and buildings. Of course, they will tell everyone that the cuts were needed regardless of their funding levels. Assuming that's true, I think if they still had the money from Amendment 3 available for pay-as-you-go (instead of using it all to pay back their debt) the cuts could have occurred gradually instead of in crisis mode. What a difference it would have made for their employees and for the people they serve. It's too late now, but at least the Highway Commission should level with everyone, and place the blame where it's due.