The Missouri Legislature is debating the elimination of the highway commission in favor of requiring that department to obtain all funding through the normal budgetary processes as do all except the Conservation Department, which also has a separate commission and funding source.
If approved as proposed, this change would require a constitutional amendment. One local state representative voiced reservations with fear that the change may push the state back to "party cronyism" and jeopardize projects' long-term planning and funding cycles. I tend to agree with this thought, but also recognize the huge shortfall the current department's leadership has demonstrated -- including increasing administrative and salary costs in favor of actual legitimate road, highway and transportation essential needs. So, I hope this plays out to a successful bill signed by the governor, and we citizens may make the decision in a later election.
Similarly, I have long-wished the Conservation Department and the Department of Natural Resources be combined to a similar legislative-controlled common combined department without that commission as well. Their mission and services are too similar to warrant the double overhead separate departments require.
Finally, Jefferson City should take note of this process. In my opinion, there is much to be gained for consolidation of all city departments without the standalone Parks and Forestry Department, which runs amuck with a separatist attitude if not in actuality. I would welcome City Council oversight and funding decisions there as well.