Located throughout the state, the projects include resurfacing, bridge approach repairs, and new signals, lights and signs. Nineteen of the projects were scheduled to be built in the next two years, but now will begin this year. Another 17 projects that will now begin this year were not yet listed on MoDOT’s five-year construction program, which runs through 2012. The new project list can be found at http://www.modot.org/.
“Our all-out efforts to cut costs are reaping big rewards,” said MoDOT Director Pete Rahn. “We promised Missourians we would work hard to get the most value out of every dollar we spend. Some of these projects weren’t even listed in our five-year construction program, but now we’re able to get started on them in the next few months. That shows we’re serious about delivering results and building trust.”
Many states have delayed or cancelled projects because of rising construction, material and fuel costs and declining state and federal revenue. MoDOT, on the other hand, has delivered $5.5 billion in road improvements within less than one-tenth of one percent of the budgeted amount since 2003.
The department has also aggressively managed costs by:
· designing projects to fit specific needs, without additional frills;
· rebidding projects if they come in too high;
· closing roads during construction if it saves money and time; and
· asking contractors to use alternate materials, propose innovative design and construction methods and work off-hours.
Delivering projects on time and within budget is no longer viewed as a challenge, but an expectation, Rahn said.
“Saving money, while delivering quality work, is simply MoDOT’s way of doing business,” Rahn said. “We have to show we’re accountable with the funding we’ve been given, before we can ask Missourians to dedicate more revenue toward transportation.”
He said trimming expenses is more critical now than ever as the state faces a significant drop in funding for transportation in 2010. That’s when the bonding proceeds made possible by Amendment 3 end. In addition, the amount of federal funds Missouri can expect to receive for transportation projects is expected to drop 40 percent. Compounding the problem is rising fuel and material costs.
“Our construction program will drop from $1.23 billion this year to $569 million in 2010,” Rahn said. “If something isn’t done to provide more funding, we face returning to the days when people were complaining about how bad our roads were.”
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