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Lobbyist Money Help  

Officials say MoDOT not completely to blame for poor roads

October 21, 2003
By: Stephanie Hockridge
State Capital Bureau

Missouri roads are among the worst in the nation and critics charge the problem lies with the misallocation of tax dollars. Stephanie Hockridge has the story.

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Federal highway statistics rank Missouri 48th for road conditions and critics say the blame rests on the Missouri Department of Transportation.

The condition of Missouri roads continually deteriorates because MoDOT's chronic underfunding.

MoDOT spokesman Jeff Briggs says this is not a surprise.

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"THE FACT THAT WE HAVE BEEN UNDERFUNDED IN THIS WAY FOR YEARS AND YEARS. WE DON'T HAVE THE RESOURCES WE NEED TO TAKE CARE OF EVERYTHING. AND WE'VE SEEN IN RECENT YEARS THE CONDITION OF OUR SYSTEM DETERIORATE TO THE POINT WHERE THERE ARE A LOT OF ROADS THAT ARE REALLY WORN OUT."

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Briggs says that Missouri law is to blame for MoDOT's lack of funding.

He says the law entitles the transportation department to receive only 63 cents for every dollar of tax revenue allocated to fund transportation projects in the state.

The rest of the money goes to other state agencies such as the Highway Patrol, Department of Revenue and the State Treasury Office.

But Secretary of State Matt Blunt says the real problem is tax money is not being used correctly.

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"THE REAL ISSUE IS GOVERNMENT CREDIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY. TAX DOLLARS THAT ARE COLLECTED FOR A SPECIFIC PURPOSE, WHATEVER THAT PURPOSE MAY BE, SHOULD BE APPLIED TO THAT PURPOSE."

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Briggs agrees, saying that Missouri tax dollars given to MoDOT should not be given to other agencies.

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"HE'S RIGHT WHEN HE SAYS THAT THERE'S A LOT OF MONEY THERE THAT IS NOT BEING USED TO FIX ROADS AND BRIDGES THAT'S NOT COMING TO US AND A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SAYING THAT PERHAPS WE SHOULD LOOK AT THAT AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT GOES TO OTHER AGENCIES AND DETERMINE IF THERE IS SOME OTHER WAY TO FUND THAT OR IF MAYBE THEY ARE GETTING A LITTLE MORE THAN THEY NEED TO GET. HOW CAN WE USE THAT POT OF MONEY AND GET MORE OF THAT INTO HIGHWAY IMPROVEMENT?"

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Blunt says that Missouri needs to demand reform because the department is failing to provide the infrastructure that Missourians need.

He says that tax money should not be diverted from MoDOT to fund other government departments.

From the state Capitol, I'm Stephanie Hockridge.Date:10/21/03

By: Stephanie Hockridge

State Capital Bureau

Missouri roads are among the worst in the nation and critics charge the problem lies with the misallocation of tax dollars. Stephanie Hockridge has the story.

Story:
RunTime:
OutCue: SOC

Federal highway statistics rank Missouri 48th for road conditions and critics say the blame rests on the Missouri Department of Transportation.

The condition of Missouri roads continually deteriorates because of MoDOT's chronic underfunding.

But Secretary of State Matt Blunt says the real problem is that tax money is not being used correctly.

Actuality:
RunTime:
OutCue:
Contents:

"THE REAL ISSUE IS GOVERNMENT CREDIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY. TAX DOLLARS THAT ARE COLLECTED FOR A SPECIFIC PURPOSE, WHATEVER THAT PURPOSE MIGHT BE SHOULD BE APPLIED TO THAT PURPOSE."


Story:
RunTime:
OutCue: SOC

MoDot spokesman Jeff Briggs says the transportation department receives only 63 cents for every dollar of tax revenue allocated to fund transportation projects in the state.

The law requires that the rest of the money go to other state agencies such as the Highway Patrol, Department of Revenue and state auditors.

From the state Capitol, I'm Stephanie Hockridge.