MoDOT head apologizes for broken promises

Thursday, October 23, 2003

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Missouri's transportation chief apologized for failing to meet commitments made by the Department of Transportation more than a decade ago but blamed some of that on inadequate state funding.

Henry Hungerbeeler, director of MoDOT, visited Kansas City and Odessa on Tuesday as part of a 14-city "MoDOT Listens to Missouri" tour. Turnout in both cities was sparse.

Hungerbeeler has come under fire by gubernatorial candidate, State Auditor Claire McCaskill, who in late August called for his resignation after a series of articles critical of the state's highways ran in The Kansas City Star.

Hungerbeeler said some of the projects that were promised but never came through were the result of voter distrust of the transportation department's ability to spend money wisely.

Among Hungerbeeler's suggestions Tuesday for raising revenue was creation of toll roads. He said MoDOT planned to go to the Legislature next year with a proposal for a handful of toll facilities, including some on Interstate 70.

Toll roads would require a change in the Missouri Constitution, which currently doesn't allow them. Voters have rejected such proposals twice in the past.

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