MoDOT needs billions in funding to complete list of priority projects

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JOPLIN, Mo. — $10 billion. That’s the bill for MoDOT if it tackles every project on its priority list.

Not surprisingly, it’s a long list with sites statewide. But the top priorities include Joplin – with a big ticket project on 32nd Street.

“It’s annoying. Sure it is,” said Morris Glaze, Joplin.

Joplin driver Morris Glaze points out an overpass at 32nd and Davis would help with semi traffic… and the hundreds of workers who often get stopped by trains.

“Get them through – we’re eating up time at that intersection,” said Glaze.

A future overpass is on the top tier of priorities for the Missouri Department of Transportation – but that list is unfunded. Add that to Missouri’s 10,000 bridges and 34,000 miles of road. And a budget that had been stretched thin.

“We’ve been funded near the bottom for several decades. This will bring us up a little into the pack a little bit. And that’s welcome news,” said Patrick McKenna, MoDOT Director.

This is new money both from the state gas tax increase and the federal infrastructure bill. It will boost MODOT construction by hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

“When you when you have a built up demand over 25 or 30 years, everybody feels like they’ve already been patient enough. So the challenge for us is going to be able to prioritize the work,” said McKenna.

Not a small job – with the current list of unfunded needs approaching ten billion dollars.

“So 400 million dollars a year isn’t going to get us all the way there. But really for the first time in decades we’re actually going to be making progress,” said McKenna.

He says Missouri will likely get about seven billion dollars overall from the federal infrastructure bill — five of which is already committed. You can see those state transportation priorities and make comments here.

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