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Committee looks at MO highway funding

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO. – A joint legislative committee met Tuesday in Jefferson City to discuss Missouri's transportation needs.

The bulk of the discussion focused on the looming shortfall of highway funding, which will be cut in half in the year 2010 when a constitutional amendment expires.

MODOT Director Pete Rahn warned lawmakers that federal highway funding will likely be cut about the same time, creating a perfect storm scenario.

But Democratic Senator Joan Bray of St. Louis told Rahn that he's focusing too much on roads and not enough on mass transit, passenger rail, and other transportation issues.

"We have the whole need for more friendliness toward bicycles and pedestrians, particularly in urban areas where people want to commute that way, and we have the whole issue of our airports around the state that are in desperate need," Bray said. "We've got an aging population, we have the demands of the 21st century, we've got global warming, we've got the whole issue of fuels."

Rahn acknowledged the other needs and said they, too, need to be addressed, but he also said federal funding for Missouri's airports may get reduced as well.


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