7.8 billion dollars a year is an anchor on our economy.
SHELBINA, Mo. — That’s how MoDOT director, Patrick McKenna, described the impact low quality infrastructure has on the state of Missouri.
Leading off the Northeast District of MoDOT’s Thursday morning meeting, McKenna used that stat to drive home the need to discuss future transportation priorities.
The Heartland is not without its own share of issues.
The NEMO Regional Planning Commission along with their Transportation Advisory Council were charged with prioritizing the Heartland’s issues.
Intersections, bridges and shoulders were the main focus for NEMO RPC Executive Director, Derek Weber.
With northeast Missouri being a major agriculture section of the state, the need to fix these three top issues would not only make commuting easier but would help influence the region's economy.
Fixing those issues is easier said than done as the budget that MoDOT and its partners face is not enough to pay for necessary improvements.
But an upcoming ballot issue could make a major difference in the amount of money going into Missouri's infrastructure.
Prop D is a proposed increase to the current gas tax in Missouri. A gas tax that hasn’t accounted for inflation and doesn't bring in enough revenue to fund road and bridge improvements that are needed statewide.
"So that money is definitely going straight into infrastructure, which is needed in our state. The state of Missouri has the seventh largest road infrastructure in the nation and I think we’re forty seventh to fiftieth in funding so that’s a bad equation," said Weber.
Missouri's 17-cent-per-gallon gas tax hasn't been increased since it went into effect in 1996.
That 17-cent tax is worth only seven cents of the value it once had when it started.
Prop D would provide an increase of $123 million annually in new gas tax funding for the Show-Me State.
And in the next decade, it will mean more than $2 billion in state funding for roads.
The increased funding would allow MoDOT'S Northeast Region to look into future projects that would bring economic growth to the area.
MoDOT said by fixing roads, adding shoulders and making more two-lane bridges, the northeast part of the state could see an economic boom in all of its communities.