MoDOT plans $1 billion worth of stimulus projects

Thursday, February 12, 2009 | 5:17 p.m. CST; updated 10:53 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 12, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri transportation officials have increased the possible projects that could be completed using federal stimulus money.

Kevin Keith, Missouri Department of Transportation chief engineer, said Thursday it’s unlikely the state will get enough money to complete every project. But he said the additional projects would be prepared to pick up any money redirected from other states that cannot spend their share.

“It’s probably a long shot, but we’d rather be ready,” Keith said.

Missouri now has a $969 million project proposal list for the federal stimulus money — up from $800 million of projects previously identified.

Under the expanded plan, $661 million would go for roads and bridges, $239 million for rail, airports and transit and $36 million for trails, sidewalks and welcome centers.

It also would divide $32 million for urban public transportation with 87 percent going to St. Louis and 13 percent to Kansas City. Just over $1 million would be spent for a forest highway in Howell and Ozark counties in the south-central part of the state.

The federal economic stimulus package is a key component of President Barack Obama’s recovery plan. The Democratic-controlled Congress and White House earlier this week agreed on a $789 billion plan. Of the money in the federal legislation, $46 billion is to be spent on transportation projects.

While it is likely that there are more projects than federal money, the Transportation Department said it would work with local planning partners to match the cost with the amount of money sent from Washington.

“We’re ready for it, bring on the money,” Keith said.

In December, the department released a list of 34 projects that could be awarded within 180 days. Transportation Department Director Pete Rahn said then that those 34 projects would create 14,000 jobs.

Missouri lawmakers are considering legislation designed to quicken the pace of some construction projects by letting those bidding on contracts handle both the design and construction for roads and bridges.

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