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September 11, 2014

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Commission Meeting Summary

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission met yesterday in St. Joseph (hometown of MoDOT Director Dave Nichols), the first time this year they have met outside of Jefferson City. Chairman Stephen Miller (Kansas City) opened the meeting by welcoming Bryan Scott (St. Louis) back to the commission. He was reappointed by Gov. Jay Nixon last week and must be confirmed by the Missouri Senate within the first 30 days of the next legislative session, which begins in January. Scott is director of quality at the Boeing Company.

The commission approved an increase in medical plan premiums for active employees and retirees. Key provisions of the medical plan increases are: 1) a 2-percent increase in premiums for active employees and Medicare retirees; 2) a 7-percent increase in premiums for non-Medicare retirees; and 3) establishment of an annual out-of-pocket maximum amount for prescription drug coverage for active employees and retirees.

“Comprehensive health care coverage is an extremely important benefit for our employees and retirees,” said Commissioner Gregg Smith (Clinton). “Any kind of increase is difficult, especially when our employees are not going to experience much of a pay raise, if any. However, I hope our employees and retirees realize we tried to do all we could to keep the increase to a minimum.”

budgetState law requires all state departments to submit an annual appropriations request to the state budget director by Oct. 1. This is the first step in developing MoDOT’s FY2016 budget, which will not be finally approved by the commission until June 2015. MoDOT’s request for the next fiscal year is $2.7 billion, 1.5 percent ($40.3 million) less than its authorized FY2015 budget.

In his report, MoDOT Director Dave Nichols made two points that illustrate the department’s current funding dilemma: project successes being delivered with funding commitments made some time ago balanced against needed improvements MoDOT is beginning to struggle to make because of diminishing revenue streams.

He noted that on Friday the ribbon will be cut on a new four-lane extension of U.S. Route 50 from just east of the U.S. Route 50/63 junction to just west of Linn in Osage County. “This is a project,” Nichols said, “that will increase capacity and greatly improve safety on what was previously a narrow, curvy and hilly stretch of highway.”

Nichols also told commissioners that in the past several weeks, routine bridge inspections have found problems that have forced the closure of three bridges – in the Kansas City, St. Louis and Southeast districts. “With reduced funding and a large inventory of bridges that need attention, actions like these could become more frequent in the future,” Nichols said. He stressed, though, “Some may need work, but our bridges are safe. If a bridge is unsafe, we close it.”

Commission Summary

  • The commission approved the results of the August 22 bid opening, awarding contracts to the low bidders on 17 projects for which 60 bids were submitted. MoDOT’s next letting is scheduled for Fri., Sept. 19.
  • Director Nichols reminded commissioners the department will hold its second annual “Day of Remembrance” on Sept. 18, taking time out across the state to remember the 131 MoDOT employees who have lost their lives while performing their duties for the benefit of all Missourians.
    He reported, too, that on Monday more than 200 MoDOT employees and industry partners will play in the 10th annual 1033 Benevolent Fund Golf Tournament in Columbia. The event raises money for the fund that provides immediate benefits to families of public servants who are killed in the line of duty.  “We’re excited and very happy that we haven’t had to write any checks to families in recent years,” Nichols said.
  • The annual Missouri State Employees Charitable Campaign is now underway. “You may recall that last year, MoDOT employees pledged the most money of any state agency for the 7th year in a row,” Nichols said. The $172,260 from MoDOT was in excess of $50,000 more than the next closest agency. “I am so proud of our employees who year after year offer support and compassion to those in need through their selfless contributions,” he said. Nichols again challenged every MoDOT employee to be involved in this year’s charitable campaign. Commissioner Smith led the audience in a round of applause for MoDOT’s generous employees.
 
Gov. Nixon Appoints Boeing Director of Quality to State Highways and Transportation Commission
scott
Bryan T. Scott of St. Louis has been appointed to the Commission, pending approval by the Missouri Senate.
Gov. Jay Nixon has appointed Bryan T. Scott, of St. Louis, to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission. Scott has been with the Boeing Company in St. Louis since 1988 and currently serves as Director of Quality for the major aircraft manufacturer. He also is a functional member of the Boeing management negotiations team. Scott previously served in other management positions with Boeing.

Scott, a Democrat, is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and obtained his master's of management degree from Fontbonne University in St. Louis. He serves as the Boeing representative on the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis Board of Directors.

The Governor has appointed Scott for a term ending March 1, 2017. His appointment will be subject to approval by the Missouri Senate.
 
Medical Plan Changes

Yesterday, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission approved changes to active and retiree medical plan premiums for calendar year 2015.

 

As Director Nichols stated in his email to employees, we want to continue providing you with quality health care benefits. Unfortunately, we have to make adjustments to keep up with increasing costs.


health graphicThe following medical plan changes approved by the Commission will be effective Jan. 1, 2015:

  • 2 percent increase in medical insurance premiums for all active employees and Medicare retirees.
    • Active employees in the employee only category will see an increase of $17 per month. This will bring all active employees up to paying 20 percent of premium costs.
    • All other active employee categories will see a small increase in their monthly premiums from $2 to $5.   
    • Medicare retirees in the subscriber only category will see an increase of $2 per month.
  • 7 percent increase in total premiums for all non-Medicare retiree categories. This increase will help ensure that premiums paid are sufficient to cover participant claims in these categories.
    • Non-Medicare retirees in the subscriber only category will see an increase of $14 per month.
  • Establishes an annual out-of-pocket maximum amount for prescription drug coverage for active employees and retirees (as required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act):
    • Establishes the out-of-pocket maximum for prescription drug coverage at $5,000 for individuals, and
    • Establishes the out-of-pocket maximum per family for prescription drug coverage at $8,400.

Reminder: The Commission also approved changes to retiree medical premiums for those retiring on or after Jan. 1, 2015:

  • Retiree medical premiums will be based on your total years of service. 
  • The Commission will contribute 2 percent per year of service, not to exceed 50 percent of the total premium. 

 

Some additional information is being provided to help you understand how these changes will affect your monthly premiums:

We hope this information will be helpful. Please review, then talk with your local benefits staff if you have any questions or concerns.


EAC

Team Talk
On Sept. 18, MoDOT will take a few moments to stop and remember the department employees who died in the line of duty. You might be wondering why we do that, since we kick off our work zone safety efforts every spring, as the construction season begins. This is different. This is personal, and this is for us, not for the rest of the world.

day of remembranceThe Day of Remembrance originated last year, after we lost Clifton Scott in September 2012. The fallen worker memorial had just been completed, and the combination of Clifton’s tragic death and the memorial’s installation helped us realize that the public work zone safety campaign wasn’t enough.

Work zone safety is about educating motorists and helping them understand why they need to pay attention in work zones. MoDOT’s Day of Remembrance is our way to recognize the sacrifice of our coworkers and remember that their loss still stings – from Clifton all the way back to John Allman, who died in 1932. And to remember, always, that the safety of every MoDOT employee is the most important thing we can do as we go about our daily work.

Here at Central Office, we’ll hold a ceremony at 1:31 p.m. where we will read the names of all 131 MoDOT employees who died in the line of duty. We’ll pause for a moment of silence. Ceremonies will take place at every district office as well. Family members of our fallen coworkers have been invited to attend. If you’re in the field that day, please try to take a moment too. Look around you, think about what you do every day to stay safe, and think about our coworkers who are no longer with us.

MoDOT’s Day of Remembrance is scheduled every year for the third Thursday of September. You can see the list of all 131 employees here: http://www.modot.org/workzones/inmemory.htm Watch for photos and stories about the Day of Remembrance activities in the next issue of Connections.

Thank you, and please stay safe in all you do.

 

The Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge is Finalist in National Transportation Awards Competition

Your Votes Are Needed

The Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge in St. Louis has been selected as one of 10 national finalists in the 2014 America’s Transportation Awards competition. A panel of national transportation experts picked the Mississippi River bridge project from 73 projects representing 36 states in the categories of "Best Use of Innovation," "Under Budget" and "Quality of Life/Community Development."

Stan SpanThe project was a joint effort by the Missouri and Illinois departments of transportation. The project was the first major interstate river bridge to be constructed in the greater St. Louis area in more than 50 years. Its purpose was to reduce congestion and improve safety by removing one of three interstates from the Poplar Street Bridge into St. Louis. The project symbolizes Illinois’ and Missouri’s commitments to innovation and partnership. The bridge opened to traffic in February.

“While all 73 projects nominated deserve recognition for their contributions to improving transportation in America, these 10 remaining projects are the best of the best,” said Bud Wright, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. The awards competition is sponsored by AASHTO, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“This competition recognizes excellence in project delivery.” Wright said. “It’s about saving time and taxpayers’ money and improving the ability of people, manufacturers, farmers and service providers to move themselves and their goods, reliably, every day.”

“Being selected as one of the top construction projects in the country is a huge honor. We owe our success to a great partnership with Illinois, our design team and our construction partners. Constructing a major river bridge over the Mississippi River was challenging, but we were able to meet and overcome these challenges due to the hard work and coordination in our exceptionally diverse team,” said Randy Hitt, project director.

It is time to vote! The People’s Choice Award will be selected through online voting which ends Oct. 24. The winners will be announced at the AASHTO Annual Meeting on Nov. 23, 2014.

Vote early and daily through AASHTO's online awards link http://nominate.americastransportationawards.org/Voting.aspx. Make sure to select MoDOT’s entry shown as MO/IL: Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge – Mississippi River Bridge on the voting page. Individuals can vote up to 10 times per day, per email address.

Last year, MoDOT’s Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program won the national People’s Choice Award.

Winners of both the Grand Prize and the People’s Choice Award will each be awarded $10,000, which must be donated to a charity or scholarship of the state DOT's choice.

To learn more, visit the project website at http://www.newriverbridge.org/.

 
Dynamic Message Signs Grab Motorists Attention
DMS Board
“Message Monday” DMS on Facebook has become the most popular posts on MoDOT’s social media. Individual Message Mondays have reached more than 130,000 people.

Distracted driving. Speeding. Tailgating. Not using turn signals. We’ve all seen these poor driving behaviors on Missouri highways. But what can MoDOT do to get motorists’ attentions to be safe?

In winter 2014, Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger chartered a team to develop a plan to maximize the use of our digital message signs to reach motorists. The DMS had been displaying safety messages for years, but the messages needed a fresh look and a strategic approach. Team members including district and division staff from Traffic and Customer Relations were asked to develop bold, in-your-face safety messages and to coordinate those messages with other communication efforts from MoDOT.

The team has developed a month-to-month strategy of messages tailored for each month. Topics focus on seasonal items, existing safety message weeks and traffic data. For example, April has work zone awareness week and No MOre Trash. June statistically has the highest rate of motorcycle crashes. Using the monthly topics, the team developed a series of messages for each of approximately four to five overall topics. The messages are then displayed in a series. For example, as a motorist travels Interstate 44, they will see approximately four messages in a row on the DMS using the same theme. Messages focus on the same safety themes conveyed in MoDOT news releases, paid safety advertising and on social media.

The change in the messages has prompted quite a bit of unsolicited feedback from customers. Customer service representatives across the state have forwarded positive emails and phone calls from customers to the DMS team. Anecdotally, many employees have informed the team members that friends and family are giving them unsolicited positive feedback regarding the change in the messages.

DMS Board 2
Posts like this one have increased MoDOT’s overall likes on Facebook by more than 5,000 since April.

Here’s a sampling of customer comments:

Comments from Kathryn: I gotta tell you guys how much I LOVE the electronic road signs. There is the "Get off the phone" sign or "Unbuckled? Seriously?" and my personal favorite is the one the tells you to use your blinker. I want to say I think this is a wonderful service. Thanks MoDOT!

Comment from Kurt:
I like the pass on left drive on right message. Not sure it's caught on yet but there's always hope.

Comment from Laura:
I really liked your "Unbuckled? Seriously?" message.

Comment from Tommy: Whoever is controlling these. Great Job keep it up!!!

Tell us what are your driving pet peeves. What are your ideas for messages? Send your ideas to Customer Relations Coordinator Linda Wilson Horn at Linda.WilsonHorn@modot.mo.gov. Maybe next month you will see one of your ideas on the DMS.

 
Keeping Kids Safe
How certain are you that your child is the safest they can be while riding in the car? With car crashes being a leading cause of death for children under 12 years old in the United States, it’s important to make sure your child is in the correct safety seat to accommodate his or her growing bodies.

child video

Watch this video. It makes a great statement about keeping kids safe - Just as Dangerous.

Missouri law requires all children under age 8 be in an appropriate child safety seat or booster seat, unless they are at least 80 pounds or 4 feet 9 inches tall.

During Child Passenger Safety Week, parents and child caregivers are encouraged to participate in a safety seat checkup to find out from experts how best to protect their kids. The annual campaign includes education on proper safety seat installation and use, as well as increased law enforcement to crack down on Missouri’s child safety seat law violators.

The wide range of car seat models on the market today leaves more than a few parents confused. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study revealed that nearly 75 percent of parents don’t know how to use child safety restraints properly. Child passenger safety technicians in Missouri report an even higher misuse rate.

National Seat Check Saturday is Sept. 20. Technicians will provide on-site car seat checks and education at locations throughout Missouri. To find a safety seat check event in your area, visit seatcheck.org. For more information visit saveMOlives.com and social media at Save MO Lives.
 
Fatality Update
fatalities graphic
 
What's Happening
 
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Patriot Day
In 2012, President Barack Obama declared Sept. 11 as Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance.

The opening paragraph of the proclamation states - On September 11, 2001, a bright autumn day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. Thousands of innocent men, women, and children perished when mighty towers collapsed in the heart of New York City and wreckage burned in Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon. They were family and friends, service members and first responders -- and the tragedy of their loss left pain that will never fade and scars our country will never forget.

You can read the entire proclamation here - Patriot Day.


Deferred Comp Video

September Deferred Compensation Video

Check out this month’s Deferred Compensation update video - Deferred Comp.

Some of the topics this month:

  • Upcoming Seminars
  • Adding it Up: Saving with Confidence
  • Now that’s a Great Question - “I started saving for retirement late in my career, what can I do to catch up?"
  • Auto Enrollment Report

Ed Blog

Chat With The Chief
Remember to check out Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger’s blog post. This week he talks about the upcoming Day of Remembrance ceremony - Chat with the Chief.


library

Missouri State Library Services
Think the Missouri State Library sounds boring? Well guess again. The library offers a lot of services to support state employees. Check it out – Library Services


September Service Anniversaries
40 Years
Edward F. Books - CO

35 Years
Kirk Andrew Kubicki - SW

30 Years
Curtis W. Baldridge - SE

25 Years
David L. Lindbloom - NW
John W. Casey - SW
Gary Lee Riley - SE
Machelle Brooks Watkins - CO

20 Years
Randall Muck - NE
Eric G. Thompson - KC
Joseph A. Martin - CD
Joseph E. Murawski - SL
Mark D. Hathcock - SL
Carolyn A. Smith - SL
Dennis Allen Bowers - SW
John L. Allison - SW
Regina Lucille Pearce - SW
Norman L. Malkowski - SE
Kevin D. Williams - SE
Bernard D. Cook - SE
Elquin Lea Auala - SE
Donald Ray Wallace - SE
Charles David Coward - SE
Shelly K. Lewis - CO
Cindy Lee Favro - CO

15 Years
Brandon Runyon - NE
Deron S. Livingston - NE
James R. Arbuckle - NE
Dennis N. Pine - KC
Arthur J. Green - CD
Craig S. Benton - CD
Shawn E. Edmonds - SL
David W. Guerin - SW
Keith J. Jenkins - SW
Sim T. Smitherman - SW
Michael Eugene Mallicoat - SW
Timmy R. Pogue - SW
Bobby J. Newman - SW
Joseph L. Dorris - SE
Helen M. Morris - SE
Bradley S. Adams - SE
Bobby C. Loveland - SE
Thomas H. Farris - SE
Travis D. Tesreau - CO
Leann Kaye Kottwitz - CO
Aaron Stephen Kincaid - CO

10 Years
Raymond O. Peel - NW
David G. Fankhauser - NW
Kevin Andrew Lee - NE
James A. Taylor - KC
Dustin Travis McElhaney - KC
Kerry P. Nilges - CD
Justin James Kumberg - CD
Steven J. Belcher - SL
Benjamin A. Arnall - SW
Betty J. Denning - SE
Ken Curtis Farrow - CO

5 Years
Jeffery Dean Long - NW
Charles R. Houchins - NE
Daniel Germann - CD
Scott C. Smith - CD
Michael W. Catching - SL
Michael A. Johnson - SW
Stuart A. Harlan - CO
Brent D. Hay - CO

 
 
 
 
 
 
Mission

Our mission is to provide a world-class transportation experience that delights our customers and promotes a prosperous Missouri.
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