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MoDot director says agency facing leaner 2012

UPI/Missouri Department of Highways and Transportation
The Missouri Department of Transportation decided to address budget troubles in 2011 with a plan to lay off workers, close some facilities and sell off equipment. MoDot Director Kevin Keith says he's optimistic 2012 won't be as tough.

The head of the Missouri Department of Transportation is hoping that 2012 will be a better year than this one. The agency had to make some pretty drastic budget decisions this year.

"It was hard," said MoDot Director Kevin Keith. "You know, that was the first word that comes to mind. It was hard."

Keith had a rough second year on the job. The agency - faced with a worsening budget shortfall - made the decision to downsize by laying off 1,200 employees, closing 130 facilities and selling off hundreds of pieces of equipment over the next five years. 

Keith says everyone in state government is tightening their belts.

"We're not alone in this," said Keith. "It's just that was the role I had to deal with and it was hard to do."

The good news, Keith says, is because of the tough budget decisions, MoDot will have an extra $117 million a year to maintain the state's roads and bridges.

2012 will feature at least two big MoDot projects in the St. Louis area, the new Mississippi River Bridge which is being built north of downtown and the closure of all westbound lanes of the Blanchette Bridge to replace the road surface and much of the structural steel.


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