When most people think of infrastructure spending and transportation dollars, we tend to think about the federal budget. But in reality the lion's share is spent at the state and local levels. Now, more and more state Departments of Transportation are announcing that they're broke. Brent Hugh writes about Missouri:
We have been talking for some time about the financial crisis that MoDOT is facing--the so-called "fiscal cliff."
We are now starting to go right off the edge of the cliff, as both state and federal transportation funding sources continue to decline in purchasing power, as the fuel taxes that were last raised in the 1990s decline inexorably in purchasing power due to inflation and other factors.
Earlier this month, the MoDOT Commission voted to suspend adding any new projects to MoDOT's 5-year project list (the STIP) and took other strong measures to reduce spending.
If the crisis continues, further deep spending cuts will be required.
MHTC Chairman Joe Carmichael, Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) Director Dave Nichols and MoDOT Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger discussed the foreboding financial future at today's annual Missouri Transportation Conference in Jefferson City, co-sponsored by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Farm Bureau, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and MoDOT.
"Believe me when I say this is not what we wanted to do," Carmichael said. "But when considering the financial forecast for the rest of this decade, we had no choice. We aren't even going to have enough money to maintain the system we have today."