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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – An estimated gap in long-term funding made by Missouri’s Transportation Department may not be accurate, according to a state audit released Friday.
Auditor Susan Montee said the projected $18.7 billion shortfall for transportation projects was calculated without including inflation.
The audit also said the long-term projects listed in a 2008 Missouri Department of Transportation report were not chosen using established procedures, and the report was not approved by the state Highways and Transportation Commission.
The transportation report stated that the numbers were an estimate, didn’t include inflation and that the priority project list came from public submissions.
In a written response to the audit, the department said the report was designed to educate the public about transportation needs in the state and the estimated shortfall was included to “illustrate the funding gap.”
“Rather than using the document for its intended purpose, the audit criticizes it for failing to include things that were consciously left out,” the department’s response states. “The level of precision, stated in current dollars, is sufficient to get people thinking about what they want and what they are willing to pay for.”
The department also said informational reports are not normally reviewed by the commission.
The audit also asserted that the way in which the department divides its spending does not represent its stated goals. It said the department is over-funding highway expansion while underfunding road maintenance programs. Planning documents list road maintenance as the department’s top priority.
“They ignore the fact that we haven’t enough funding to do either,” the department said in its written response. “The truth is that everything is underfunded.”
On the Net:
MoDOT Report: http://www.modot.mo.gov/conversation/