While many of us are consumed with pre-Thanksgiving planning, business and political leaders in Missouri are busy making their wish lists for the next legislative session in January.
For starters, if the head of the Missouri Department of Transportation gets his wish, we may need to pay a toll in the future to get to grandma's house to eat our Thanksgiving turkey, if our route includes driving on Interstate 70.
MoDOT Director Kevin Keith told the Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight on Wednesday that the highway department is spending about half of what is needed on the state's transportation infrastructure.
Federal stimulus funding boosted construction spending across Missouri in 2009 and 2010. Amendment 3, passed by voters in 2004, previously allowed the department to borrow money with bonds to finance new projects.
Funds peaked at $1.2 billion in fiscal 2009 and are estimated to drop to $590 million in 2016.
Keith said a public-private partnership may be the only way MoDOT could make corridor-wide improvements to I-70 without the need for a tax increase. Putting the operation of I-70 into the hands of the private sector would then free millions of dollars for other projects across the state.
This plan, however, would need state legislative authority to move forward.
Workforce issues move to forefront
"Frankly, it is an issue between labor and employees," Mehan said in a statement.
The Missouri Chamber also plans to push to eliminate project labor agreements and the prevailing wage laws in Missouri regarding public projects. Plus, the group wants workers' compensation reform and legislation to prevent frivolous discrimination lawsuits, among several other issues.
Economic development, employment and exports
The governor said his administration will work quickly to find his third MDED director.
On the same day, Nixon touted the state's unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent in October, down by two-tenths of a point from September. The U.S. unemployment rate for October was 9 percent.