MoDOT's Debts And Cuts
June 12, 2011
MoDOT is now paying off debt at $274 million a year, which could have been entirely avoided. Contrary to what is usually stated, Amendment 3 (passed by Mo voters in 2004) did not require the highway commission to use the tax money to sell new bonds. It's in the Mo Constitution, and says "Moneys deposited in the state road bond fund...shall only be used to fund the repayment of bonds..., except that after January 1, 2009, that portion of the moneys in the state road bond fund which...is not needed to make payments upon said bonds or to maintain an adequate reserve for making future payments upon said bonds may be appropriated to the state road fund. The highways and transportation commission shall have authority to issue state road bonds for the uses set forth in this subdivision (3)." The highway commission didn't need to incur new debt, but could have chosen to use the Amendment 3 money to simply pay off the bonds sold before 2004, and then save the remaining money and start spending it in 2009. Instead they decided to sell bonds and use the proceeds on a 5 year construction boom, and now are repaying the bonds to the tune of $274 million a year. A recent news article said, "They were taking an enormous risk," said transportation advocate Ron McKlendin. "I think they did that, thinking that by the time they had to repay the money, there would be an additional revenue stream in place." The people at the top in MoDOT led the highway commission to mortgage MoDOT's future. As usual, the rank-and-file workers will pay the price, while the ones responsible at the top will keep their jobs and huge paychecks. Someone with enough political power should right this wrong!!
In response to:
Job cuts, service at center of debate
Opponents of the state Transportation Department’s downsizing plan argued last Wednesday it created substantially more job and service cuts in the northeastern and southeastern regions of Missouri than in the two metropolitan areas.