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Friday, July 24, 2009

Saving money, one project at a time

MoDOT has found a silver lining in the dark cloud of the economic decline. The department has seen a decline of revenue in the past year since people are less likely to drive long distances or buy new vehicles. Since the department relies on gas taxes, registration fees and vehicle taxes for funding to maintain and build roads and bridges.

Fortunately, last fiscal year, in St. Louis, the department saved $33 million in its construction budget -- nearly 24 percent of what was budgeted for the year. These savings will be rolled back into other construction projects -- allowing the department to complete more work for you.

One of the more successful methods of reducing costs is what the department calls practical design. This method takes a look at making sure that transportation projects are fixing specific needs, rather than putting in unneeded "frills." Another extensively used method brings contractors into the design process early to let them propose innovative methods to complete the work. So far, we've seen proposals involving alternate materials, varied designs and revised schedules.

All in all, by aggressively managing projects to get them completed on time and under budget, MoDOT continues to try to meet its commitments to the Missouri taxpayers.

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