SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The $5.4 billion list of improvements, MoDOT is pushing for in the August election, have been finalized.
All that's left is for voters to have their say, but some Missourians believe the 3/4 cent sales tax isn't the answer.
Missourians For Better Transportation Solutions says the sales tax won't affect truckers just passing through the state. MoDOT says no matter how you pay for it, Missourians rely on goods being shipped through the state.
"There would be additional lanes on highway 65, from 60 to CC. We'd have more lanes on James River Freeway to help with congestion," MoDOT Southwest District Engineer, Becky Baltz listed, "A project really wanted in Willard is four lanes on 160,"
Baltz says the sales tax would cover more than 200 projects just in the Southwest District (one of seven in the state)
Plans in the Southwest District also include resurfacing more than 600 miles of roadway, rehabilitating bridges, adding airport improvements and trail systems.
"For every dollar spent we get a four dollar return," says Baltz. "So we felt like it's a good investment for Missouri."Missourians for Better Transportation Solutions member Tom Shrout, says he's worried the economic fix would only be temporary.
"If spending money on roads was a big economic development way of doing things, Missouri should be adding jobs and growing in population," says Shrout. "Because we have one of the largest highway systems in the country."
Shrout says the problem is Missouri has one of the lowest gas taxes in the country at 17 cents per gallon. Baltz says that's compounded by more fuel efficient cars.
"The state gas tax has not been raised in 20 years," says Baltz, "over the last 20 years the materials have almost doubled in price."
The 3/4 cent tax would not be on groceries, fuel or medications, but Shrout is concerned the tax would still hurt working families, and not vehicles just passing through the state.
"If this doesn't' pass, MoDOT still has a $2 billion a year budget to work with," says Shrout. "I think they will be just fine until for a period of time until all parties can come back together, and can come up with something that's better than a sales tax."
"They're asking poor people... and working families, through the sales tax, to subsidize truckers," says Shrout.
"I know some folks think it’s more equitable if that's a fuel tax," says Baltz, " and some folks think it's more equitable to raise a sales tax, but either way we have to pay for the movement of goods."
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