Tom Warne Report, 27 May 2014
Voters in Missouri will soon decide on a $5.4 billion transportation improvement plan. The House approved a scaled-back plan to generate about $534 million annually in new revenue for roads and other transportation work with a three-fourths-cent general sales tax for the next decade.
The Senate previously passed House Joint Resolution 68 with a 22-10 vote after cutting one-fourth cent from a previous version. The most recent House approval on May 14 cleared the way for the proposed constitutional amendment to be part of the November general election vote. Gov. Jay Nixon has the authority to move up the date for voters to decide on the tax question.
Missouri Department of Transportation Director Dave Nichols released a statement on Wednesday applauding lawmakers for giving voters the opportunity to boost the state’s economy and the safety of public driving by making transportation improvements.
“We are working with planning partners around the state and representatives from every mode of transportation to determine how this new revenue could best improve our total transportation system,” Nichols said. “We are ready to deliver the projects and services that Missourians expect and deserve.”
Nichols has said that the state’s construction budget for roads and bridges has fallen to $685 million this year, from about $1.3 billion annually in 2010.
If voters approve the tax measure, it would begin Jan. 1, 2015. About $480 million each year would go toward highways, transit, ports, airports and pedestrian paths. Cities and counties would split the remaining $54 million annually for local projects.