For years now the state of Missouri’s infrastructure has been a concern for public officials, politicians and Missourians on the whole.The Missouri Department of Transportation and state legislators have come up with a way to combat the department’s shrinking budget, but it’s up to Missouri voters to approve it. Amendment 7 will be on the August ballot: it’s a three quarter cent statewide sales tax increase on everything except groceries and medicine.
As Wednesday’s rush hour dies down on Interstate 70, Scott Campbell is merging onto the highway.
“Off like a herd of turtles,” he says.
Campbell is with Missouri’s Department of Transportation and he’s spending the night here with the maintenance team to repaint the yellow stripe in the fast lane. The caravan of trucks, with mounted signs, flashing arrows and bright lights, spreads out for more than a mile creeping along at 10 miles per hour. Even all these emblazoned alerts didn’t protect Campbell when was struck by a pickup on the job two weeks ago.
The 108 airports in Missouri contributed $11 billion to Missouri’s economy, with $3.1 billion of that coming from 100,621 jobs, according to a study released by the Missouri Department of Transportation.
The study looked at direct impact money, which includes the salaries of airport workers, ticket revenue and contractors hired for construction. In addition to the direct impact, there is indirect impact money that includes hotel room and rental car sales.
Missouri is one of 13 states that will get federal grant money to improve road conditions.
As a part of the Everyday Counts initiative Missouri was granted $150,000 to implement new road technology to improve road safety. Travis Koestner, Assistant District Engineer at Missouri Department of Transportation, says this money will go towards a road re-surfacing project using High Friction Surface Treatment.
Civil engineers say Missouri's infrastructure gets only a C-minus.
The regional chapters of the American Society of Civil Engineers released the letter grade Wednesday. It is part of a report card that evaluated the state's aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, energy, inland waterways, levees, railroads, roads, schools and wastewater. Each sub-category also received a grade.
A proposed 1-cent sales tax for transportation has stalled in the Missouri Legislature.
The sales tax proposal was projected to generate nearly $8 billion over a decade for state highways, local roads and other modes of transportation such as railroads, airports, mass transit and river ports. Cities and counties would each get 5 percent of the revenues, with the rest going to state projects. Voters would have had to approve the tax in 2014 to enact the proposal.
The director of Missouri's Department of Transportation is taking a medical leave of absence and plans to resign his post.
The department announced Thursday that Kevin Keith's leave is effective immediately and he will resign July 1.
Chief engineer David Nichols will serve as interim director until the state Highways and Transportation Commission appoints a new director. Commission chairman Joe Carmichael says Nichols will remain interim director for at least one year.