Patrick McKenna | St. Louis Public Radio

Patrick McKenna

Many MoDOT employees are trained to operate complicated machines and vehicles.
File Photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s Transportation Department is losing employees at a worrisome rate, said Patrick McKenna, its director. 

McKenna said that nearly half of the department's workforce has left and been replaced since 2017. That turnover cost nearly $37 million last fiscal year, according to MoDOT estimates. 

McKenna said that high turnover rate has made it hard to get employees trained in time for them to deal with bad weather. 

Gov. Mike Parson talks with an official from the Missouri Department of Transportation on Feb. 14, 2019. Parson stopped in Jefferson County to promote a bonding plan to repair bridges.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Mike Parson swung through Jefferson and Franklin counties Thursday to promote his bonding plan aimed at repairing 250 bridges across the state.

It comes as the proposal appears to be gaining traction in the Legislature — and buy in from key GOP leaders.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s budget plan includes a raise for all state employees, who on average are the lowest-paid in the nation.

“We're going to invest in the state workforce,” state budget director Dan Haug said. “We have had some studies done and we had employees below what the market minimums were, so we're going to try to get almost all of our employees up to that.”

File photo

Patrick McKenna has begun his second year as director of the Missouri Department of Transportation, and he’s hoping for more understanding and results from Missouri lawmakers and Gov.-elect Eric Greitens.

Many of last year’s proposals to find more money for transportation went nowhere, including a bill to raise the state’s fuel tax and a ballot measure to raise cigarette taxes.  St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin sat down with McKenna to talk about why Missouri leaders and citizens can’t seem to agree on how to fund transportation.

Patrick McKenna, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation
Missouri Department of Transportation

Patrick McKenna is now into his second week as director of the Missouri Department of Transportation.

He recently served as deputy director of New Hampshire's transportation department and before that worked as chief financial officer for the U.S. Senate.  McKenna sat down last week with St. Louis Public Radio's Marshall Griffin and talked about some of the challenges he now faces as MoDOT director.