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MoDOT revenues declining

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KWMU
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MoDOT Director Pete Rahn addresses a joint House-Senate transportation committee meeting at the State Capitol today.

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Department of Transportation is experiencing a funding shortfall.

The economic downturn is being blamed for MoDOT receiving $18 million less in revenue than expected since July 1st.

MoDOT Director Pete Rahn told members of a joint House-Senate transportation committee that if the trend continues, his department could experience a shortfall of nearly $73 million.

"We will do everything we can to ensure that every dollar that we can squeeze out of our system goes onto our roads," Rahn said.

Rahn also says extra revenue generated by a constitutional amendment is due to run out in the year 2010.

Meanwhile, State Senator Joan Bray (D, St. Louis) expressed concern that MoDOT is focusing too much attention on highways and not enough on public transportation and other needs.

"Urban areas are on their own when it comes to any kind of public transportation...Kansas City struggles, St. Louis struggles, Springfield struggles, Columbia struggles, Jefferson City has a transit system, and everyone struggles to try to keep those transit systems where they can be meaningful for people...in our urban areas, many people don't have cars," Bray said.

Slow auto sales are also being blamed for an eleven percent drop in vehicle sales tax revenues in Missouri.

Rahn says those revenues are needed to repay bonds that have financed recent road improvement projects.

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