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Rising Gas Prices hurting Trasportation Department

April 13, 2005
By: Dan Frumson
State Capital Bureau

Missouri's driver's are not the only ones affected by rising gas prices.

Dan Frumson has more from the state Capitol.

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The consistent rise in gasoline and crude oil prices is driving up the opperating costs for the Department of Transportation.

Jeff Briggs, a spokesman for the Missouri Department of Transportation says rising prices affect the department on several fronts.

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"MoDot owns about four thousand vehicles state-wide. A lot of those are heavy equipment. We used about ten million gallons of fuel a year. And the high gas prices; we've got to pay them just like everyone else."

The department has explored alternative technologies, but Missouri law prohibits the use of foreign goods, such as hybrid technology by automobile makers such as Honda and Toyota.

From the state capitol, I'm Dan Frumson

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The Missouri Dempartment of Transportation will triple the amount of asphalt used in road projects in the next few year.

Rising gas prices make current and future projects even more costly.

Dan Frumson has more from the state Capitol.

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Asphalt is a petroleum-based product, so the Missouri Department of Trasportation has to pay more for road repairs.

Spokesman for the Transportation Department Jeff Briggs says because road resurfacing is a top priority, the department is tripling the yearly amount of asphalt from two million to six million tons.

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"So that is going to be a big hit on our budget as well, but it's something we're really emphasizing, is trying to take care of the roads. We're just going to have to sqeeze in as much work as we can."

Briggs also says because of the fluctuation of prices there is no way to calculate how much rising gas prices will affect asphalt expenses.

From the state Capitol, I'm Dan Frumson.

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Private citizens and companies are not the only ones suffering from rising gas prices. The government is also feeling the pinch.

Dan Frumson has more from the state Capitol.

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Most comsumers do not purchase ten million gallons of gas each year, but that's an average year for the Missouri Department of Transportation.

While the department is trying to cut costs Trasportation Department spokesman Jeff Briggs says foreign hybrid technology is not an option,

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"Missouri law though, currently specifies that we need to purchase vehicles made in the USA."

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...nor is laying off workers.

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"For a long time. we've really been getting by as efficiently and as low cost as we can. And those workers are really needed out in the field every day. These are the people who are doing the mowing and patching the pot-holes and puting up new signs and making sure the signals work.

From the state Capitol, I'm Dan Frumson.