Suddenly flush with funds, MoDOT wants to know how you would like to spend the money on transportation.
Statewide voters recently increased the state's gas tax. Now, Congress has passed an infrastructure bill that will send $6.5 billion to Missouri.
Never mind the infrastructure bill is piling another $1 trillion onto our national debt, which approached $29 trillion as of his writing. Our concern that our growing debt will someday topple our country - like it has other civilizations - is for another editorial. The money has been appropriated and it's going to be spent, so it's a moot point.
The question now is what are the transportation priorities of Missourians?
Rather than using the funds to tackle large projects such as rebuilding and widening Interstate 70 or Interstate 44, the state is looking at completing more than 400 other unfunded projects, MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna said in a story we recently published.
Widening the 199-mile, two-lane stretch of I-70 to three lanes in each direction would cost $2.5 billion-$3 billion, the department estimated last year.
To make sure that is what Missourians want, the department will hold public hearings during the next three weeks to receive comments on the unfunded needs. The projects that can be funded will be included in the next Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, or STIP.
That five-year program, updated annually in June, lays out what MoDOT expects it can build with available money. The most recent plan anticipates spending $1.1 billion annually.
McKenna said the plan is to finish determining the priorities before the end of the year.
MoDOT has scheduled a single meeting for the central district, which will take place 4:30-6:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Jefferson City High School cafeteria. If you have opinions about transportation funding, we urge you to attend. It's your chance to have a say in how billions of dollars are spent on Missouri's transportation system.