ST. JAMES — Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) Area Engineer Preston Kramer told the Meramec region Transportation Advisory Committee at the group's Aug. 14 meeting that as Constitutional Amendment 7 failed to pass, Mo-DOT will continue to focus on maintenance of the existing system.
ST. JAMES — Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) Area Engineer Preston Kramer told the Meramec region Transportation Advisory Committee at the group’s Aug. 14 meeting that as Constitutional Amendment 7 failed to pass, Mo-DOT will continue to focus on maintenance of the existing system.
“We will maintain what we have as good as we can for as long as we can,” Kramer said.
Constitutional Amendment 7 would have implemented a three-quarters cent sales tax for transportation projects throughout the state, allowing MoDOT to complete a specific list of projects to improve the transportation system.
However, Missouri voters did not approve the amendment at the polls Aug. 5.
“I think that the general consensus that we can take away from the election is that people do want to see additional investment in our transportation system, especially our roads and bridges, but, there was not a consensus the sales tax was the right idea,” Kramer said.
It will be up to the Legislature to find a funding mechanism that is agreeable to more voters, he noted.
Kramer noted that MoDOT learned a lot during the process leading up to the election, with one of those things being the “four pillars” determined during the On the Move campaign.
The pillars offer a prioritized way for MoDOT to select projects to devote its limited funding to based on what citizens want out of their transportation system.
They are, in order of importance, maintaining the current system, safety projects, economic development projects and providing transportation choices.
“Honestly, the last two items are going to be put on the shelf for a while,” Kramer said.
Steve Engelbrecht, MoDOT Central District planning manager, noted that some projects prioritized by the Transportation Advisory Committee were included on the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) recently approved by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.
“You will see a decline in that (new projects on the STIP), but there are still projects added to the STIP this year,” Engelbrecht said, noting that most of those projects are pavement projects or bridge replacements.
Seventeen Meramec region bridges were listed to be replaced had Constitutional Amendment 7 passed.
Transportation Advisory Committee Chairman John Petersen extended thanks to MoDOT and Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) staff in their assistance and dedication to develop the required list of projects associated with Constitutional Amendment 7.
“There was a tremendous amount of work that went into all of this, and I think it speaks very highly of everyone involved,” Petersen said.
In other business, the committee:
• Selected officers for the new fiscal year. New officer positions will be effective at the group’s next meeting in October;
• Learned that Congress passed a $10.8 billion short-term funding bill that expires in May 2015 for the National Highway Trust Fund;
• Was updated on current construction projects in the region, most of which are paving projects recently completed or to be completed in the near future; and
• Learned about the drastic decline in highway fatalities in Missouri since 2005 and how that decline relates to safety projects completed during that time.
For more information on MRPC’s Transportation Advisory Committee, call MRPC at 573-265-2993. The committee will meet again at 4 p.m. Oct. 9 at MRPC, 4 Industrial Drive, St. James. Meetings are open to the public.