John Bailey, right, addresses a point during a hearing in West Plains last year.. Looking on are Kevin Keith, director, and Grace Nichols, chairwoman of the highway commission. (File photo)

Franz files bill to modify the composition of the MoDOT commission

A state representative concerned about MoDOT’s decision to close its Willow Springs District office is seeking better representation on the governing body’s commission.

House Bill 1630, sponsored by Rep. Ward Franz, R-West Plains, was filed Thursday, in the Missouri House of Representatives. It modifies the composition of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission so that no more than one person can be appointed to the commission from the same congressional district.

“Is it extremely important that all of Missouri has representation on the MoDOT Commission, not just St. Louis and Kansas City,” said Franz. “We must have better access to representation that understands and cares about the concerns and issues of rural Missouri on the commission.”

Franz hopes to replace Sen. Chuck Purgason, R-Caulfield, who can’t seek re-election due to term limits. Franz also is exempt from seeking another term.

Currently, the commission consists of six members with no requirements that they be geographically diverse. Commissioners are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.

They must also be a taxpayer and a resident of Missouri for at least five years before being appointed. The current commission has three members from the St. Louis area.

“I see, understand and support the need for smaller, more efficient government; but with the closing of the district office in Willow Springs and the sheer lack in ability by MoDOT to keep up with the vast stretch of roads in rural, south-central Missouri, the public has made it clear that they want this issue addressed,” said Franz. “I believe this bill will help bring the commission closer to the people.”



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