St. Louis (KSDK) - The Missouri Department of Transportation plans to cut staff by 1,200 positions, close 135 facilities and sell more than 740 pieces of equipment.
Director Kevin Keith presented that plan to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission on Wednesday morning. The department believes the $512 million saved can be used for road and bridge projects.
Under the plan, MoDOT would close its district offices in Macon, Joplin and Willow Springs, but will continue to maintain a presence in those cities.
For the past five years, Missouri's state transportation highway construction program has averaged $1.2 billion a year. The new five-year construction program presented to the commission is about $600 million a year.
MoDOT plans to hold community briefings through the state over the next month to explain the new plan.
The commission is expected to act on the proposal at its June 8 meeting. If it is approved, the recommendations will begin to be put in place immediately with full implementation scheduled for December of 2012.
Bill McKenna, MoTA spokesperson and former Missouri Highways and Transportation Chairman released the following statemebnt about the MoDOT restructuring plan:
"Today, the Missouri Department of Transportation announced a major restructuring due to the unprecedented transportation funding crisis in our state. These cuts are painful, they are deep and they will impact every Missourian; the cuts highlight the urgent need to resolve Missouri's transportation funding shortfall.
"This is a natural response to the funding crisis. MoDOT cannot be expected to deliver the same level of service with less than half of the funding they've had for the previous five years. Today's announcement is going to result in a significant reduction in the level of service that Missourians have received from MoDOT over the last five years.
"MoDOT, like the rest of state government will try to do more with less, but this is a situation where clearly, less is less. MoDOT will work very hard to 'maintain' the system and 'hold our own' on 3,000 deficient bridges. But our state's transportation infrastructure will quickly fall short of Missourians expectations and demand for safe roads and bridges and the growing needs for transit and other modes that propel our economy.
"The Alliance is working with citizens and stakeholders around the state to find a solution: A long term plan and funding solution that maintains our infrastructure, meets our future needs, grows our economy, and keeps us safe. Missourians must commit to funding transportation and make it a priority in the very near future in order to create jobs and keep Missouri families safe on our roads."