It should come as no surprise that the Missouri Department of Transportation wants and needs additional funds to help maintain and improve the roadways in Missouri. The outgoing director of MoDot told legislators Wednesday that more money is needed soon to improve highways. He offered a few suggestions on how to generate those funds. But most of the ideas were a rehash of past suggestions. However, those ideas remain the best opportunity to help the funding shortfall for our highways.
Missouri, like countless other states, is at a crossroads - no pun intended. Additional vehicle traffic, more large trucks and age are taking a toll on the highway system here and elsewhere. But taxpayers are becoming reluctant to fund these projects because the tax burden for many is also taking a toll on personal finances.
Let me go ahead and beat a dead horse. If government at all levels would examine the programs that are targeted for those who don't contribute to society, then taxpayers will continue to withhold their support for higher taxes. There is a majority mind set among the public that government squanders too much money on helping those who refuse to help themselves. And the truly needed programs - such as improved highways - are the ones that suffer.
The MoDot director is right on target. Unless we quit siphoning money from the transportation funds to help other state agencies, we'll never get improved highways. Government doesn't always need more money; sometimes they simply need to spend the available funds in a manner that will benefit the most people.
I will never accept the argument that government has cut to the bone and cannot find any new sources of cost reduction. I believe that many politicians are afraid of making those tough decisions because it will jeopardize their chances for re-election. The time will come soon when we have no choice. We'll have to decide where we want our tax dollars spent so they will benefit the most people providing those funds. The highway system is just today's example of the funding crunch. Get ready - there's more ahead.