The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission Thursday introduced Patrick K. McKenna as the new director for the Missouri Department of Transportation.
McKenna comes to Missouri from the State of New Hampshire, where he was the deputy commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation. In that role, McKenna served as the chief financial, operating and legislative officer for the organization.
In fact, it was his background with highway funding and the legislature that drew the Commission’s interest, according to Commission Chairman Stephen R. Miller.
“We wanted a Director that was very comfortable walking across the street and being able to visit with our governor, and walk across the street to the General Assembly and meet with its leaders,” said Miller. “He’ll be comfortable going to the local Elks’ Club, or Chamber of Commerce. I think we found that in Patrick.”
Prior to moving to New Hampshire, McKenna served on the staff of the U.S. Senate where he rose to the post of chief financial officer. Later, he started a real estate holding company.
“The entire state of NewHampshire could probably fit into one of Missouri’s highway districts,” said McKenna. “Many of the same problems are faced in New Hampshire as they are here in Missouri; not enough money for routine maintenance has led to a declining condition of the infrastructure.”
McKenna says New Hampshire funds most of its transportation system through the state’s turnpike which is tolled and brings in more than $120-million a year. Despite his familiarity with tolls, McKenna is not ready to propose Missouri go to the same system to fund its highways and bridge programs.
“That’s going to take a lot of discussion, I can’t give you an answer today,” said McKenna. “We have to form some consensus, we have to have some frank discussions. I welcome it and I look forward to it.”