MoDOT's response to the resounding defeat of Proposition B tells the public much about the department.
For the first time MoDOT's administration has admitted that the public does not trust the department. No kidding. If it took Proposition B's dismal performance on Tuesday to drive that lesson home, they haven't been paying attention.
Another, perhaps more revealing lesson comes from the department's statements about the future. Director Henry Hungerbeeler has been quoted as saying that the defeat of Proposition B means the state will be forced to care for what has already been built rather than constructing new roads.
The public can be forgiven for being incredulous of that statement. What the people are asking is ''what's the problem with that?'' If the only way MoDOT can justify itself is to continually expand the road system in Missouri rather than improving it, the department needs to be reformed. That Hungerbeeler apparently places more emphasis on building new roads than protecting what the state has already invested in violates a basic principal of business. Protecting assets is almost always primary ahead of expansion of property. If the core assets of an entity, in this case the Missouri road system, fails to be maintained, that entity faces inevitable decay.
MoDOT is saying they will be able to do less now that their pet project has been slaughtered by the voters. In terms of new construction, we agree. But new construction should never be the focus to the point that the existing system is allowed to literally fall apart.