Expect Road Delays
I apologize, Missourians. There will be road delays in the near future, and I’m not talking about traffic. According to an article in the Joplin Globe, the Federal Highway Trust Fund is running short on money, thus delaying or even canceling road/bridge projects in Missouri. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation has asked Congress for an $8 billion increase in funding for the Federal Highway Trust Fund, to assist with financing highway projects. If Congress can not accumulate the funds, Missouri could lose $252 million, translating to 8,770 jobs. Wow — as if our economy hasn’t already taken a hit.
This blow to our economy is something that I cannot take lightly. According to Scott Bachman, planner for MoDOT Joplin’s regional office:
“We’re hoping Congress will come up with a short-term solution, now that it’s back from the August recess. In the meantime, we’ll watch how much revenue comes into the highway trust fund and how much they pay out in ratio to the funding coming in.”
I’m sorry, but I do not want to wait in traffic and put the fate of our state’s roads in the hands of Congress. This would be a great opportunity for Missourians to flex our muscles and take the situation into our own hands. Tolling and private financing could be major options.
During one of my first weeks here in the Show-Me Institute office, one of our policy analysts (I will give you a hint) asked whether I knew the only tolled transportation facility in Missouri? Clearly, I did not know the answer. To my surprise, it was the Lake of the Ozarks Community Bridge, built in 1998. This is the only one. As a graduate student at Brandeis University (located in Waltham, Mass.), I am lucky to pass only two toll facilities (versus four or five) just to get into Boston! I really think we should keep our options open to public-private partnerships. Either that, or wait for Congress to find that pot of gold under the rainbow.