Without action soon, Missouri’s Department of Transportation will be left with insufficient resources to maintain and improve Missouri’s broad network of roads, bridges, railways and other critical means of moving people and goods.
The transportation department currently operates on a $685 million budget. Already, the department has had to stop adding new projects to its five year building plan. In less than three years, the situation could become much worse. In 2017, it’s estimated the department’s funding will drop to $325 million. At that point, department officials have said they won’t be able to even maintain existing infrastructure.
Today, the Missouri House voted to ask voters whether the state should add a temporary one-cent sales tax to support the state’s vital transportation needs. The measure is contained in House Joint Resolution 68, sponsored by Rep. Dave Hinson, a Republican from St. Clair. The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports this measure.
“Missouri is in the middle of the nation’s shipping and distribution corridors. With our beneficial location, our transportation infrastructure has been a critical asset to our efforts to grow our economy and attract business to Missouri,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “Today, it’s time to reinvest in this most basic asset. We thank the Missouri House for their effort to put this on the ballot and we call on the Senate to do the same.”
A similar measure in the Senate is Senate Joint Resolution 48, sponsored by Sen. Mike Kehoe, a Republican from Jefferson City. Sen. Kehoe’s bill awaits a committee hearing.
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry (www.mochamber.com) was founded in 1923 and is the largest business organization in Missouri, representing almost 3,000 employers, providing more than 425,000 jobs for Missourians.