MoDOT Discovers A Solution To Its Financial Problems

Fake News written by Martha Throebeck on Friday, October 19, 2001

from the speed-limits-but-no-spending-limits dept.

SCOTT CITY -- The highway department's 15 year plan might have been a total disaster, but that doesn't mean MoDOT isn't capable of executing well-crafted plans. Take, for instance, the new bridge under construction over the Diversion Channel. It's only been two weeks since the project started and already traffic has backed up for miles on the interstate.

Combine this with the recently enacted "double fines in work zones" law, and you've got the Mother Of All Revenue Sources. MoDOT hopes that the windfall from traffic tickets will pay for the new bridge -- and then some.

"I just love it when a plan comes together," explained a MoDOT employee who wished to remain anonymous. "The traffic jams produce road rage. Road rage incites wreckless driving. Wreckless driving equals vast quantities of ticket fines. It's just that simple!"

MoDOT engineers have always scoffed at their counterparts in Oklahoma with their silly toll roads. "Who needs a toll road when we can just slap another tax on drivers -- er, I mean, issue lots of tickets strictly for safety purposes?"

According to the latest available figures, 985 citations have already been issued to drivers attempting to bypass the traffic jam by illegally driving on the shoulder. Exactly 1,250 motorists have been ticketed for failing to use their turn signals when merging into the left lane. And of course, after waiting 25 minutes in bumper-to-bumper traffic in the middle of nowhere, the typical driver has a tendency to ignore speed limits after leaving the construction zone in a futile attempt to make up for lost time. Nearly 2,500 of these drivers have already been pulled over.

The bridge isn't the only capital improvement that will be funded from traffic ticket revenue. Dutchtown hopes to build a new levee and city hall complex with the proceeds.

"What a racket!" said the city father. "MoDOT has been advising drivers to 'seek alternative routes' to avoid the I-55 construction. Of course, when those drivers arrive in Dutchtown, they realize that the traffic here isn't moving any faster. Mwahahahaha!"

Dutchtown's population has increased 9.9% thanks to the addition of ten new police officers, ten new police cruisers, ten new crates of citation booklets, and (of course) ten new radar guns.

By a vote of 1-0, the Dutchtown board of trustees (composed solely of the one city father) enacted an ordinance prohibiting thru traffic on the town's only side road, often used to bypass the congestion on Route 74. The speed limit on the street has also been reduced to three-and-a-half miles per hour.

The city father has asked MoDOT to change the main junction in town into a four-way stop to, in his words, "raise even more money... er, raise safety." He added, "It's a win-win situation. We get to build a levee. MoDOT gets a new Diversion Channel bridge. The roads become safer. And drivers don't have to pay higher gasoline taxes."

Meanwhile, the village of Allenville, which also has a bridge over the Diversion Channel, isn't very happy about all of the ticket revenue bypassing them. Allenville doesn't exactly have a city father, but the "town drunk" did say, "If we could convince the county to pave our road, then drivers heading to Scott City could bypass I-55 and Dutchtown at the same time by going through Allenville. We want some of the easy money too!"

Whitewater, Delta, Blomeyer, Chaffee, and Rockview have all expressed an interest but have so far been unable to capitalize on the situation. The folks in Thebes, Illinois have drawn up a hair-brained scheme to temporarily retrofit the railroad bridge over the Mississippi for autos. This would entice Scott Citians to travel to Illinois and then re-enter Missouri at Cape, generating copious amounts of ticket revenue for Illinois in the process. With this money, a brand new bridge could be financed and the cycle would continue.

"There's money in them thar wallets," explained a Thebes official. "We've just got to figure out how to get it."