Legislature to control federal highway funds coming to Missouri?
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Legislature to control federal highway funds coming to Missouri?

Date: March 9, 2009
By: Theo Keith
State Capitol Bureau
Links: SB 527

Intro: The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to take control of federal highway dollars away from the Transportation Department, against the objections of MoDOT's director.

Theo Keith has more from Jefferson City. 

RunTime:0:41
OutCue: SOC

An overwhelming majority of the committee voted for the bill.

Appropriations Committee Chairman Gary Nodler says the legislature has a Constitutional right to hand out the money.

 

Actuality:  NODLER4.WAV
Run Time: 00:10
Description: "If anyone tries to suggest to you today that there's a Constitutional issue here, that is absolutely, positively, unequivocally, wrong. There is no Constitutional dilemma."

MoDOT Director Pete Rahn says the state's control would create a roadblock for funds.

He said this will lower the state's bond rating, which means the state will have to offer a higher interest rate to attract investors.

Rahn predicts this will cost the state about $58 million.

Reporting from the State Capitol, Theo Keith, Newsradio 1120 KMOX.


Intro: The Senate Appropriations Committee has voted to strip the Transportation Department of its authority to control federal highway funds.

Theo Keith has more from Jefferson City. 

RunTime:0:41
OutCue: SOC
The committee passed the bill by an overwhelming majority.
 
The vote came after MoDOT Director Pete Rahn spoke against the bill.
 
Rahn says subjecting the federal money to legislative review would lower the state's bond rating.

Actuality:  RAHN9.WAV
Run Time: 00:17
Description: "Within the covenants of those bonds, it explains that these funds do not require the appropriation of the legislature, and so the introduction of an appropriation process would put us in default on these $142 million worth of bonds."

Rahn says that would jeopardize the St. Louis Mississippi River bridge and more than 800 projects across the state.

Reporting from the State Capitol, Theo Keith, Newsradio 1120 KMOX.


Intro: A Republican and a Democrat teamed up on a bill that would give the state power to decide where federal highway funds will go.

Theo Keith has more from Jefferson City.

RunTime:10:43
OutCue: SOC

The Senate Appropriations Committee overwhelmingly voted for the bill after listening to MoDOT's objections.

Appropriations Committee Chairman Gary Nodler sponsored the bill.

Nodler says the legislature has allowed MoDOT to handle federal funds for years, but the Missouri Constitution allows the legislature to step in.

 

Actuality:  NODLER6.WAV
Run Time: 00:08
Description: "The legislature basically has abdicated responsibility for oversight of the development of the transportation system, which is our Constitutional responsibility."


Nodler says the bill improves oversight of MoDOT's spending.

While MoDOT Director Pete Rahn says the bill is not unconstitutional, he warned it would lead to problems down the road.

He says subjecting federal money to the legislature will lower Missouri's bond rating.

Actuality:  RAHN10.WAV
Run Time: 00:11
Description: "Moody's specifically listed its first strength of these bonds as being the lack of an appropriation process in giving us our rating."

A lower bond rating means an investment is riskier.

To attract investors, Missouri would need to offer a higher interest rate.

Rahn says that will cost the state about $58 million, and could jeopardize future projects.

Actuality:  RAHN11.WAV
Run Time: 00:10
Description: "Those bonds are going to be used to pay for the new Mississippi River bridge and the Safe and Sound bridge program, which is the 802 bridges across the state."

Rahn says if the legislature decides not to use all of the federal dollars, Missouri will lose money it currently gets from other states' unused funds.

Reporting from the State Capitol, I'm Theo Keith, Newsradio 1120 KMOX.