November 15, 2001

Berkowitz Takes Seat On Transportation Joint Committee

First District State Representative Sam Berkowitz, D-Memphis, has been named to the Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight. Rep. Berkowitz attended his first meeting of the committee this week.

The Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight was created by a bill passed by the Missouri General Assembly during its 2000 session. The committee is made up of seven members of both the House and Senate. Each year, the Missouri Department of Transportation submits a written report on its finances, project status, bid criteria as well as any recommendations for change to the committee. The committee then makes recommendations to the department based on the report.

"This is a hugely important committee as we address the transportation issues of the state of Missouri," said Rep. Berkowitz. "I am proud to be serving as the voice of the people of northeast Missouri on this committee."

Speaker of the House Jim Kreider appointed Rep. Berkowitz to the committee in the wake of the death of 8th District State Representative Gary Wiggins, D-New Cambria, last July.

"It is with some sadness that I accept this new assignment," said Rep. Berkowitz. "Gary was my friend and one of the most knowledgeable members of the general assembly on transportation matters. It is my responsibility to see that the work begun by Gary in the interests of the people of north Missouri is continued and completed."

The legislation that created the transportation oversight commit-tee was spawned by the Department of Transportation's admission that it did not have enough funding to complete its 15-year plan for state highway construction.

"This committee was born out of the disappointment and mistrust generated by the demise of the 15-year plan for which we raised state gas taxes," said Rep. Berkowitz. "Now, I feel things are starting to get back on the right track. There is no more important issue in Missouri right now than the state of the state's transportation system. With my presence on this oversight committee, I am committing my-self to making sure that our tax dollars are being spent wisely, and that our roads and bridges are constructed and maintained in the manner we deserve."

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