by Joseph Miller
January 30, 2014
In planning the future of Missouri’s transportation infrastructure, we must identify real priorities that will boost the state’s competitiveness and standards of living. MoDOT’s Long-Range Plan should identify these priorities, but it succeeds only partially. The plan points out that MoDOT’s current funding model is unsustainable, but it does not recommend increased use of the “user pays” funding system to make up the shortfall, despite that model’s sustainability and economic advantages. While the report gives sufficient priority to providing for the infrastructure that taxpayers strongly demand, namely roads, it suggests costly expansions of inter- and intra-city passenger rail systems. Weak trends toward increased public transportation use do not justify the pre-emptive construction of expensive, fixed public transportation modes. To maximize the benefit of every dollar spent on transportation infrastructure, a better method is focusing on matching infrastructure supply with its actual demand.