Lawmakers in Missouri will have to go back to the drawing board to fund transportation improvements such as rebuilding I-70. Voters in the state rejected a proposed sales-tax increase yesterday, the Kansas City Star reported.
The new sales tax, in the form of a proposed constitutional amendment, would have increased Missouri’s sales tax by three-quarters of a cent for 10 years and would have raised an estimated $5.4 billion.
The added revenue would have been dedicated to transportation construction, with 10% to local governments and 90% to the state. It would have funded 800 highway and transportation projects.
The measure was voted down by a margin of 59% voting no and 41% voting yes.
Missouri’s budget for roads and bridges has fallen from $1.3 billion a year to $700 million over the past five years and is projected to continue to drop to $325 million a year in 2017. Transportation officials say $325 million is not even enough to maintain the current transportation infrastructure.
Stephen Miller, chairman of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, issued the following statement in response to the Constitutional Amendment 7 election results.
"We are very disappointed in the result, but the people have spoken and we respect that.
"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."
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.”