Add Missouri to the list of states attempting to rely on a sales tax to generate more transportation money.
Rudy Farber, chairman of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, announced on Jan. 24 that state legislators needed to convince voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax. The move would generate $8 billion over a 10-year span. Farber said the decline in gas-tax revenues means alternative funding methods for road and bridgework need to be carried out.
“Now is the time for up to put oil in the engine,” he said.
The Commission already has a chunk of the new money committed if the measure makes it past the public. Rebuilding 200 miles of I-70 would receive $1 billion of the $8 billion produced. Plans call for widening the thoroughfare to six lanes between Wentzville and Independence. About $15.5 billion will be divided according to a regional formula. The rest will fund the Missouri Department of Transportation’s operating budget and help provide matching funds for federal dollars as well as increase payments to cities and counties for transportation improvements.
Sources linked to the state legislature say the measure is being received well by lawmakers.
“There’s a great understanding, if we’re going to have job-creation growth . . . this is part of that,” said Rep. Dave Schatz.