Last March, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) came up with a plan to combat decreasing funds.
Knowing that Amendment 3 and federal stimulus money wouldn’t be coming in anymore, MoDOT created the 5-Year Direction. The plan would eliminate approximately 400 jobs, mostly through attrition. The savings weren’t enough.
Tuesday afternoon in the rotunda at , MoDOT representatives shared the new MoDOT Bolder 5-Year Direction plan.
“It’s not something we want to do. It’s something we have to do,” said Jim Germaud, MoDOT area engineer for St. Charles County.
Germaud described the new plan as “painful.” MoDOT expects to cut 1,200 jobs, eliminate 135 facilities statewide, eliminate 740 pieces of equipment and do other cost-saving measures to produce savings of $512 million—roughly $177 million a year.
“The reality of the situation is, we have to take more drastic measures,” Germaud said.
Germaud said without Amendment 3 and stimulus money, MoDOT is reverting back to 1999 budget figures. MoDOT had been operating on a $1.2 billion-budget and will now have to make due with $600 million.
“Money doesn’t buy as much as it did in 1999,” he said.
The plan will be voted on this summer by the MoDOT commission. If approved, the plan will go into effect in December 2012.
Jobs will be biggest money saver for MoDOT. Under the plan, MoDOT is expected to save $212 million throughout five years by eliminating 1,200 jobs.
“This will have a huge impact on jobs,” Germaud said.
Germaud said close to 400 jobs were already cut under the old plan, but that means nearly 800 jobs remain in jeopardy. Knowing that attrition through retirements and people quitting won’t get the job done, layoffs are expected.
“Right now, I’m the area engineer for St. Charles County,” Germaud said. “I might not have a job in August. That’s the reality.”
Many of the jobs will be eliminated as MoDOT shifts its philosophy. Instead of working on new projects and expanded the roadways, the Bolder plan calls for workers to focus on maintaining existing roads.
Without spending money on new projects, MoDOT will save money by not having to buy new land. For most big projects, the department must buy out residents to use the land.
One way MoDOT is planning to cut jobs is to redo its districts. Since 1922, Missouri has had 10 districts in the state with St. Charles County falling into District 6. Now MoDot plans to eliminate three districts. St. Charles County would fall into the St. Louis District, an area slightly bigger than the old District 6.
“This is long overdue,” Germaud said. “The time has come.”
The redistricting will close three district offices and help MoDOT close the 111 maintenance facilities necessary under the plan. Under the plan, the facilities closures will save the department $41 million.
By consolidating facilities, MoDOT will have some redundant staff that can be cut, and some redundant equipment. MoDOT intends to sell off the redundant pieces to put more money into the budget. MoDOT expects to be able to operate on 740 fewer pieces of equipment, which will save $44 million.