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Reforming Missouri's Department of Transportation

Springfield, MO In hisstate of the state address, Missouri's governor Bob Holden proposed taking power away from the Highway Commission. That's the body that oversees the Department of Transportation. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports. In his state of the state address, governor Bob Holden called on lawmakers to weaken the highway commission'he told a joint session of the legislature that he wants the power to appoint an official to oversee the Missouri Department of Transportation or MODOT.

Missy server-newgov1a region-runs :22 At a press conference following the state of the state address, the governor said he was looking at possibly supporting the elimination of the commission. But the governor didn't mention that in his speech. The proposal he did unveil in his state of the state address drew mixed reviews from lawmakers. Senate president pro temp peter kinder explains why few senate republicans applauded the governor when he laid out his plan in his speech.

Missy server-peter1a-d regions-runs :25 On the house side, assistant majority floor leader Mark Wright complimented the governor for recognizing the need for change. Wright, a Springfield Republican says he doesn't support completely doing away with the commission but he does support restructuring it.

Missy server-newmark3a, 2b, 2c regions-runs :32 Resistance to creating a cabinet-level position to oversee MODOThas come from those who believe it would politicize the system. Jim Anderson of Springfield sits on the highway commission. He says those concerns about the risk of politicizing transportation funding are well-founded'he says the system, as it stands now is not political.

Missy server-jim2a-runs :41 Again at a press conference following his speech, the governor talked about the commission system. He said politics is already a part of it.

Missy server-gov3a-b regions-runs :14 Though Jim Anderson disagrees and says the commission is not exposed to political pressure, he says he does support some efforts to create even more safeguards.

Missy server-jim4a region-runs :23 For several years, republicans have scoffed at the idea of giving MODOT more funding. They say reform the department before giving it more money. Lawmakers say this may be one of the issues where they and the governor find common ground this session.