Lack of Funding leaves Expansion of I-70 a Dream
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Lack of Funding leaves Expansion of I-70 a Dream

Date: November 6, 2007
By: Carly Robertson
State Capitol Bureau

Intro: MoDOT says I-70 is the busiest interstate in Missouri but a lack of funding means decreasing the congestion may not be something that happens anytime soon. Carly Robertson has more from Jefferson City. RunTime:
OutCue: SOC

MoDOT released its annual report to lawmakers today.

The report sited a two-million dollar feasibility study of improvements on I-70.

The money came from the U.S. Department of Transportation who agrees with MoDOT's thinking that the interstate is worn down and too congested.

Jeff Briggs is a spokesman for MoDOT.

Actuality:  BRIGGS1.WAV
Run Time: 00:12
Description: "They asked us to specifically look at talking about expanding I-70 from four lanes to eight lanes, so that would be four in each direction, all the way across the state and include the possibility of dedicated truck lanes."

Briggs says that these improvements would cost an estimated $3.5 billion, money that MoDOT simply does not have.

Republican Senator Bill Stouffer is head of the Transportation committee and agrees something has to be done.

Actuality:  STOUFFER.WAV
Run Time: 00:13
Description: "Over the last 50 years we've done nothing to increase capacity, our parents and grandparents built I-70 and I-44 and the interstate system for us but that was 50 years ago and it's time we look to upgrading capacity."
Both men stressed the importance of the public's push for these changes. 
Reporting from Jefferson City,I'm Carly Robertson.

Intro: MoDOT released its annual report to lawmakers warning a major drop in highway revenue come 2010 will threaten the improvement of state roads. Carly Robertson has more from Jefferson City.   RunTime:
OutCue: SOC

Voters approved Amendment 3 in 2004 to redirect money to specifically improve state highways.

The report shows improvements have been made including better pavement on major roads and the largest drop in the nation in traffic-related fatalities in 2006.

But these improvements are at the risk of only being short-term gains as funding from Amendment 3 is starting to run low.

MoDOT spokesman, Jeff Briggs warns that if the department's revenue does not change by 2010 its budget will decrease by nearly half. 

Actuality:  BRIGGS2.WAV
Run Time: 00:11
Description: "So with that kind of a drop we're going to be left with enough money to really focus on maintaining what we've already got but we won't have anything to build new or expanded highways or build new bridges."

Transportation committee chair Republican Senator Bill Stouffer says the legislature has been working with MoDOT for about a year and a half to address these concerns.

He stressed the importance of citizens' input if they want to continue to see changes on Missouri's roads.

Reporting from Jefferson City, I'm Carly Robertson.


Intro: MoDOT is attributing the placement of the median guard cables you see on major highways for the significant decrease in traffic-related fatalities. Carly Robertson has more from Jefferson City.

OutCue: SOC

In its annual report MoDOT releases to lawmakers, the department cited Missouri as having the largest drop of any state in traffic-related fatalities in 2006.

MoDOT spokesman Jeff Briggs says the median guard cables are a direct correlation to saving lives.

Actuality:  BRIGGS3.WAV

Run Time: 00:06

Description: "Well the year after we had them in place on I-70 the fatalities dropped from 25 to 2."

Briggs also attributes smoother pavement and brighter road paint to the decrease. 

All of these improvements were made possible by Amendment 3 passed in 2004.

These funds are starting to run low and MoDOT warns that the state will not be able to maintain these improvements if funding is not increased.

Briggs said MoDOT's budget will decrease by nearly half, from $1.23 billion in 2008 to $569 million in 2010.

Reporting from Jefferson City, I'm Carly Robertson.