AASHTO Journal, 8 August 2014
Missouri voters this week rejected a proposal that proponents hoped would raise $5.4 billion to fund transportation projects throughout the state.
The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the measure was rejected by 59 percent of voters. Missouri officials had hoped to generate about $5.4 billion over 10 years to pay for hundreds of projects, including the reconstruction and widening of Interstate 70 from Independence to Wentzville.
“We are very disappointed in the result, but the people have spoken and we respect that,” said Stephen Miller, chairman of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, in a statement. “As we have seen for the past several years, I think Missourians have a clear understanding that more resources need to be invested in our transportation infrastructure, but there just isn’t any consensus on how to pay for it. We need to continue working toward that end.”
In a statement issued in response to the vote, Dave Nichols, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation, said, “We will continue our focus on safety, maintaining our roads and bridges, and providing outstanding customer service with the resources we have.”
The Missouri General Assembly passed a transportation funding proposal in May that asked voters to approve three-fourths-cent temporary sales tax (see related AASHTO Journal story here). The legislation stipulated that the new revenue would fund road and bridge construction, and could not be used for anything other than transportation. Ten percent of the funding raised was to be set aside for local transportation projects (5 percent each for counties and municipalities), while the remaining 90 percent was to go to the “Transportation Safety and Job Creation Fund,” used at the discretion of the highways and transportation commission.