Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) officials say they need a $10 million investment in additional trucks and equipment in the 2020 fiscal year.
That’s according to a legislative budget request report presented to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission which met in Washington last week.
Currently, the department has 4,900 units of all shapes and sizes crews use in the day-to-day operations.
Statewide, MoDOT has about 1,400 pickup trucks valued at $32 million; 18 road-stripers which cost $500,000 each; and 1,550 dump trucks with an estimated value of $214 million.
The pickups and other smaller vehicles that make up the “light fleet” have a targeted lifespan of five years, but most are at least 6 years old.
The dump trucks, which are the workhorses and most visible of the MoDOT fleet, have a targeted service life of seven years, but many have been in service for 11 years.
The report also stressed the age of vehicles does not accurately reflect the wear and tear, especially in the larger vehicles where hours on the engines and equipment are more detrimental than actual miles on the odometers.
The report shows in 2018, 859 MoDOT units exceeded the recommended threshold just based on age and not including hours and mileage.
It would cost $146 million to replace the units in the fleet that have exceeded their useful life according to the report.
The report suggests earmarking $32 to $50 million each year for the next several years to bring the fleet up to date.
The proposed plan would be to replace the oldest vehicles first.
Vehicles at least 12 years old with 175,000 miles and 8,000 hours will be the first to be replaced.
Questions were raised by commission members about auctioning off surplus vehicles after they have exceeded their usefulness for MoDOT.
Director Patrick McKenna said the type of trucks and equipment MoDOT orders are very specific and they don’t have a wide resale market.
Many of the tractors the department uses are on lease programs to ensure new equipment is always available.
McKenna also was asked about purchasing lighter duty dump trucks that may have better resale value after MoDOT service.
He told the commission if the trucks were used for plowing they need to be heavy enough to push snow while at the same time holding salt or other deicing chemicals.