Roads, bridges and Proposition B
State legislators in Jefferson
City worked long and hard to find common ground on a road and bridge plan
that could gain strong voter support. To their credit, our senators and
representatives reached agreement on a plan before they adjourned.
Without taking a stand on Proposition
B, we will publish information next month to help our readers make an
informed decision on this critical funding issue. We will be asked to
vote on the measure at the primary election on August 6.
Our state constitution says
we voters will have the final word on the type and amount of taxes we
will pay to build, repair and maintain our roads and bridges. First though,
it was the duty of our Missouri Senate and House of Representatives to
chisel out a plan for our consideration.
After months of debate on numerous
funding plans, a resolution with strong bi-partisan support was adopted
by our legislators before they concluded their recent legislative session
in May. As a result of their action, the fate of this important issue
has been passed to you and me.
Proponents of the road and
bridge plan clearly understand that we voters like to know exactly what
it is we are voting for; especially, when we are being asked to raise
our own taxes. With that in mind, the state Department of Transportation
is expected to issue a list of projects that would be funded with the
additional tax revenues gained through Proposition B. That detailed information
is considered critical for gaining voter support.
Secretary of State Matt Blunt
says that the 4-cent-per-gallon tax increase and a half-cent sales tax
increase will raise $483 million. The lawmakers who approved the ballot
measure estimate the proposal will raise $511 million. That $28 million
difference will need some explanation.
We, who are users of our state
roads and bridges, know we must pay taxes for their construction and upkeep.
With that understanding, we want strong assurances that the tax dollars
we pay into the highway fund are well managed and wisely spent. The current
campaign for improving our roads and bridges should focus on those legitimate
We look forward to visiting
with you in the August issue of Rural Missouri with more information
on Proposition B, and hope to see you at the polls on Aug. 6!
Stork was executive
vice president of the Association of Missouri
Electric Cooperatives and a member of Three Rivers Electric Co-op.