Senator Kurt Schaefer Outlines Comprehensive Transportation Initiative

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JEFFERSON CITY – Appropriations Chairman State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, announced today, Feb. 2, a comprehensive road map for the state’s transportation needs that will not require raising taxes. The new plan will also improve accountability at the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) and restore the Department’s matching initiative to meet local and regional transportation needs.

“Our state’s transportation infrastructure is deteriorating and has become an impediment to our economic growth potential, our regional competitiveness and our citizens’ safety,” Schaefer said. “We need to invest in improving our infrastructure while making sure our tax dollars are spent responsibly.”

Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, said this funding option will help Missouri create a well-developed infrastructure that is critical to ensuring the effective functioning of the economy.

“Missouri is home to some of the nation’s top engineering and construction companies as well as research institutions with experts in every aspect of transportation,” Kehoe said. “These are resources we can tap into and create an improved, more efficient transportation system.”

Sen. Schaefer said the comprehensive transportation initiative will restore MoDOT’s current cost share program and rename it the Missouri Moves Fund. The program will be focused on local projects and job creation. It will create enough state funding to receive federal match dollars for transportation projects, about $1 – 2 billion in local transportation projects, which will enhance the state’s multimodal system and meet the needs of communities. This will all be accomplished without raising taxes.

“Through the budget process this session, we will restore, expand and rename MoDOT’s $50 million matching program,” Schaefer said. “The new Missouri Moves Fund will allow local communities to leverage matching funds to meet critical needs as well as regional priorities.”

Sen. Schaefer said because of many of the successful programs put into place by the General Assembly over previous years, the state has seen savings from many welfare programs including the Show-Me ECHO program and expanded managed care.

“We have also seen savings from the passage of Senate Bill 24 last session, the Strengthening Missouri Families Act and from a budget provision requiring the Department of Social Services to contract with a third party vendor for verification of eligibility,” Schaefer said. “These savings have allowed us to reinvest those federal and state dollars back into other programs, freeing up funding in general revenue.”