JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri lawmakers present at the annual transportation report hearing heard how the abandonment of gas guzzling vehicles is costing MoDoT.
The director of the Missouri Department of Transportation, David Nichols, said the fuel tax revenue, which serves as the bulk of transportation funds, will run out by the end of the fiscal year. Nichols effectively said that better mileaged cars are taking away from the fuel tax revenue and the department is being forced to make changes accordingly.
In March of 2010, the Bolder Five-Year Direction was put into place in order to downsize the workforce and cost of labor for the department, but as the five years comes to a close a new plan must be generated. The lingering benefits of the Five-Year Direction plan, combined with the lack of revenue from fuel taxes, are forcing the department to begin preparing for drastic changes. Nichols said they are unsure of how or if Congress will intervene.
The department has come up with two ways in which to downsize spending. The first being to cease the addition of any new projects for the next five years, which Nichols said has never been done before. The second is to eliminate the cost share program. The cost share program is what allows Missouri to work with surrounding states on transportation projects.
Only under questioning did Nichols refer to the temporary one percent sales tax increase to aid transportation funding, which is proposed for the statewide ballot for 2014.