JEFFERSON CITY — Stakeholders in Missouri’s transportation system are starting the year with high expectations.
Missouri Department of Transportation executives met with contractors and state legislators Thursday morning for the annual transportation conference at the Capitol Plaza Hotel & Convention Center.
Bill McKenna, chairman of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, said he feels good about the state’s transportation situation. The department reported a substantially better financial position Thursday than it did at the 2004 conference.Last year, the transportation department was reelingafter voters defeated a higher fuel tax to fund highways. This year, its financial situation is improved, due to the November approval of Amendment 3, which mandates that fuel and automobile taxes go to highway projects.
Amendment 3 will give the department the financial stability to issue bonds and spend $1.7 billion on road projects over the next three years.
The conference also celebrated the appointment of new transportation-department director Pete Rahn.
Rahn was praised for implementing quick changes and for developing a clear mission statement for the depart-ment.
“Each year can be a celebration of success, just as this year is,” Rahn said.
— SETH MYERS