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Jefferson City

MoDOT budget cuts affect Mid-Missouri transportation projects

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

The Missouri Department of Transportation's funding of $50 million for the Governor's Cost-Share Program has been cut in half due to COVID-19 budget constraints.

According to MODOT, the fiscal year 2020 budget included $50 million of General Revenue funds for MoDOT to work collaboratively with the Department of Economic Development to create a new transportation cost-share program focusing on projects that create an economic
benefit.

The commission approved 19 projects at a meeting in January, but budget constraints cut the program's funding in half, leaving $25 million to fund projects.

One project that will be affected by this is the Clark Avenue roundabout project in Jefferson City.

Jefferson City Engineer David Bange said the city stopped working on parts of the project while they wait to receive official word about the loss of those funds.

Patrick McKenna, MoDOT Director said the intention behind the program from Gov. Mike Parson and the legislature was to create an opportunity to spur investment in projects that boost economic development.

McKenna said 44 projects were originally approved, but now there are unknown impacts in general revenue, so MoDOT was asked to lapse funds to help balance out the end of fiscal year 2020.

"We sent out notifications today (Thursday) for the projects that no longer have funding or certainly are at risk," McKenna said. "So there might be some of these that will still proceed, but they'll have to proceed without a guarantee of state resources available to help."

Bange said the city applied for the grant application and was successful for about $1.9 million.

Bange said that money was going to be used for a roundabout project that was already underway on the intersection of Dunklin and Clark Streets. The grant would have expanded that project to include the intersections of Miller and Clark as well as the Elm and Clark intersection, making three roundabouts.

Bange said the city was working on getting the three roundabouts designed when they heard unofficially that the funding had been cut in half.

Jefferson City has put the Elm and Miller intersections on pause, but Bange said they will continue working on the Dunklin and Clark roundabout with city and county revenue.

McKenna said all of the projects that applied for the grant were put on a list and were ranked by experts at the Department of Economic Development for guidance on the economic impact of the projects.

McKenna said the experts reevaluated the list of projects from the original application to make a decision about which projects would still receive funding.

"We went down the list and added up until we get to $25 million and then drew a line," McKenna said."

McKenna said there was about $4 million worth of work already underway before funds lapsed in fiscal year 20, and since those were ones that were already in the project development cycle MoDOT fulfilled the commitments that were already underway.

"They did a reevaluation of those projects," Bange said. "And ultimately our project didn't make the cut. And so, that money that we were supposed to be able to get from the Governor's Cost Share Program has now kind of evaporated."

Bange said creating three roundabouts at those intersections would have addressed one of the main issues that happen at the interchange of ramp terminals of Highway 50 and 63.

"There have been accidents there... related to that very close spacing," Bange said. "Certainly with the construction that roundabout, you know that problem would have been solved. So, certainly, you know, we would have liked to be able to proceed with that project because I really think it has some benefits."

Bange said if the program were to allow all three roundabout projects to be done the city would need to know in a short amount of time.

"We would need to know that within the next two months," Bange said. "In order to be able to still hit the same time frames that we were talking about in terms of construction. If it's later than that, then perhaps that window is closed."

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Amber Tabeling

Amber joined the ABC 17 News team as a multimedia journalist in December 2019. She was a student-athlete at Parkland College and Missouri Valley College. She hails from a small town in Illinois.

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