MoDOT Hosts Open House on Amendment 7 Projects

By Grant Sloan |

Published 06/16 2014 08:40PM

Updated 06/16 2014 11:14PM

BRANSON, Mo. -- This August, Missouri voters will decide on Amendment 7 - a sales tax that would generate hundreds of millions of dollars for transportation improvements.

In the mean time, MoDOT is hosting a series of open houses to showcase the proposed projects.

The 3/4 cent sales tax will cover more than 200 projects in the Southwest region alone (one of seven in the state), covering everything for airport improvements, resurfacing, bridges, lane expansions, and buying land for future expansions.

"Statistics have shown that for every dollar that you invest in the transportation system you get a $4 return," says MoDOT Southwest District Engineer Becky Baltz.

Baltz says for the last year and a half MoDOT has interview more than 12,000 Missouri residents to get their input on needed transportation improvements.

The District Engineer is now among those answering questions, and showcasing the projects, at the Branson open house.

"When we're looking at the fuel tax that dedicated to roads and bridges only," says Baltz. "But with this sales tax it's been opened up to any mode of transportation."

The 3/4 cent tax is expected to generate more than $500 million a year state-wide, and would sunset in 2024.

The Amendment would not tax groceries or medication, and would not allow for toll roads or a increase in the current gas tax during the 10 year span.

If the tax is not passes, MoDOT would continue maintaining the existing system.

"i like the idea of a tax that is on anything but gasoline," says Branson resident Lyle Stanley. "We all know that's high enough right now, I like the proposal and that it's not permanent."

Stanley says he liked how the tax would help to fund Branson’s Spirit of 76 project - something business owner Gail Myer is also looking in to.

"We're interested in how this would help to move people around our area and affect their experience," says Myer.

The hotel owner says at this point he also doesn't have any concerns with the current plan. "Not really because information wise, it's not prioritized yet, this is the beginning, I think the public needs to get involved."

The 3/4 cent tax would generate roughly $64 million at year for the Southwest District. The next public meeting is in Joplin on June 17, followed by one in Springfield on June 18. Both meetings run for 4-7 p.m.

For a full list of projects in the state, and the Southwest District, visit the Moving Forward website.

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