A draft 2019-2023 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) that builds on the Missouri Department of Transportation’s long-range transportation plan, financial forecast, asset management plan and the prioritization of project needs at the local level by planning partners was presented today to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.

A draft 2019-2023 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) that builds on the Missouri Department of Transportation’s long-range transportation plan, financial forecast, asset management plan and the prioritization of project needs at the local level by planning partners was presented today to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.

Transportation Planning Director Machelle Watkins told commissioners the draft STIP includes 1,319 projects, which for the most part will maintain the system in the condition it is in today. On average, this STIP annually invests in 586 lane miles of interstate pavements, 1,065 miles of major route pavements, 2,754 miles of minor route pavements and 172 bridges.

Missouri has the nation’s seventh largest state highway system with 33,856 miles of roadways and 10,403 bridges but ranks 46th nationally in revenue per mile.

The STIP details an annual construction program of $900 million per year for the five-year period, up from $850 million in Fiscal Year 2018. But it is still insufficient to meet the state’s unfunded high-priority transportation needs that are estimated in MoDOT’s “Citizen’s Guide to Transportation Funding” at an additional $825 million per year.

“Community input is critically important to the process of prioritizing local needs and putting the STIP together,” MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna said. “The STIP represents our commitment to Missourians of the projects that will be developed and delivered over the next five years.”

The STIP also takes into account commission action from January that increases cost-share funding to $30 million for 2021, $35 million for 2022, $40 million for 2023, and $45 million for 2024 and thereafter. The purpose of the cost-share program is to build partnerships with local entities to pool efforts and resources in order to deliver state highway and bridge projects.

"We know from discussions our districts have been having with our planning partners that there is a healthy appetite out there for locally important projects that can be expedited by this increase in cost-share funding," Watkins said.

In January the Commission also updated the distribution method for safety funds. Some $35 million is available each year for safety funding, with $3 million dedicated to statewide initiatives. Beginning in 2021, the remaining $32 million will be distributed to MoDOT’s seven districts based on a three-year average of the number of fatalities and serious injuries on the state highway system. Currently, district safety funds are distributed based on a three-year crash average that includes fatal, injury and property damage-only crashes. Watkins said focusing MoDOT's efforts on areas with high fatalities and serious injuries is a key strategy for reducing the number of deaths on the Missouri transportation system. That is in keeping with “Missouri’s Blueprint – A Partnership Toward Zero Deaths” which is an ongoing strategic plan to assist in continuing efforts to reduce the number of people killed and injured as the result of motor vehicle crashes on the state’s roadways.

For the second straight year, the draft STIP includes more detailed project information for non-highway modes of transportation than in the past, and also includes a section detailing the planned operations and maintenance activities for the next two years, alongside expenditures for those same activities in the prior year. This additional information is provided to allow Missourians to more easily see how their transportation funding is invested.

The draft 2019-2023 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program lists transportation projects planned by state and regional planning agencies for fiscal years 2019 through 2023 (July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2023). The proposed program is available for public review. Those interested in seeing the program or offering comments can contact MoDOT by email to STIPcomments@modot.mo.gov, by calling customer service at 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (275-6636), or by mail to Transportation Planning, Program Comments, P.O. Box 270, Jefferson City, MO 65102. The program is also available on MoDOT's website, www.modot.org/plansandprojects/construction_program/DRAFT_STIP2019-2023/index.htm, and at MoDOT district and regional offices around the state. The formal comment period ends July 6, 2018.

Following the public review period, the comments will be presented to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission. The Commission will review the comments and the final transportation program before considering it for approval at its July 11 meeting in Springfield.

Also at today’s meeting, the Commission approved an update of MoDOT’s 2014 Long-Range Transportation Plan. The update took place over the past year in accordance with new federal laws and regulations that require additional content, including safety performance measures and targets. In the previous effort, four goal areas were established:

•Take care of the transportation system and services we enjoy today;

•Keep all travelers safe, no matter the mode of transportation;

•Invest in projects that spur economic growth and create jobs; and

•Give Missourians better transportation choices.

MoDOT sought public input in fall 2017 to determine if those goals were still valid, or if priorities had changed. Nearly 8,000 people participated in the online survey and submitted about 5,400 comments. Based on that feedback, the four goals above were validated and the updated plan adds a fifth goal:

•Improve reliability and reduce congestion on Missouri’s transportation system.

For the first time, the plan also examines how Missouri should prepare for autonomous and connected vehicles. -MoDOT