JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Credit market troubles have forced officials to scrap an innovative plan to fix hundreds of Missouri\'s worst bridges, thwarting what was to serve as a national roadmap for quickly renovating aging infrastructure.
The plan would have awarded a single contract to finance, design and build 802 bridges within five years and then maintain them for the next 25 years. The state would have made annual payments to the contractor.
The plan was hailed as a potential model for other states and a better alternative for getting repairs done that otherwise would take two decades at Missouri\'s current pace.
But that was before the credit market crisis caused the cost of the bridge project to spike.
Though the private contracting teams offered good proposals, \"they simply could not overcome the burden of a financial market that has melted down,\" said Pete Rahn, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation.
The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, the board that governs the DOT, instead decided Thursday to issue its own bonds to finance the bridges, which it pledged still would get rebuilt or repaired within five years.