On August 5 Missouri voters defeated a measure that would have established a dedicated infrastructure fund from revenue earned through three-quarters of a cent sales tax increase. Constitutional Amendment 7 was dismissed in a 59% to 41% vote.
“We are very disappointed in the result, but the people have spoken and we respect that.” Stephen Miller, chairman of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, commented. “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.”
The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) Long Range Transportation Plan estimates that over the next 20 years, Missouri has at least $70 billion of infrastructure projects requested throughout the state, but only $17.3 billion of available funds are expected to be available. Had the measure passed it would have made an estimated $5.4 billion available over the next 10 years for state and local transportation projects. In fact, in July MoDOT release a list of “priority projects” that would have received funding with the revenue generated by the tax increase. The future of this list remains to be seen.
Dave Nichols, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation, “We will continue our focus on safety, maintaining our roads and bridges, and providing outstanding customer service with the resources we have.”
If Missourians wish to “raise the grade” on roads and bridges, adequate revenue must be collected and allocated to maintain and improve the state’s transportation infrastructure.