The following text is today's script of Director Pete Rahn's weekly podcast. It carries an especially important message regarding a new direction for MoDOT as we face severe funding challenges ahead. You may also listen here. A video of Rahn's full presentation to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission is also available on MoDOT's Web site at http://www.modot.org/.
Over the past five years, MoDOT has made great strides improving Missouri’s transportation system and rebuilding trust with the people we serve. Now, 86 percent of our major roads are in good condition. Overall satisfaction with MoDOT is at 85 percent and 89 percent of Missourians trust us to do what we say we will do.
However, over the next five years, we are faced with a great challenge. Our construction program is declining due to stagnant state revenues, uncertain federal funding, rising costs from employee benefits and no more money coming from Amendment 3 mandated bonds.
Our plan for the next five years is to focus on keeping our existing transportation system in good shape rather than building new highways, bridges and other facilities. We are also committed to meeting all commitments made in the five-year Statewide Transportation Improvement Program.
It won’t be easy and it will require MoDOT to make tough decisions. By reducing the size of our workforce and changing the way we do business we will save more than $200 million over the next five years. Internally, that will mean an immediate hiring freeze on most positions that become vacant, reducing the number of offices and buildings we own and reducing administrative costs.
There also will be reductions that are more visible to you. Mowing and litter pickup activities will be reduced and signs will be replaced less frequently. We will find a less expensive way to do striping, reduce our use of consultants and use shorter-term pavement treatments.
These actions are not taken lightly, but they are necessary. Your Department of Transportation will rise to the challenge. We are fully committed to keeping the existing transportation system in good condition and maintaining your trust and satisfaction with the department at the current high levels or higher.