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Transportation Sales Tax: Support, Opposition Revs Up

BOLIVAR, Mo -- The Missouri Department of Transportation is still seeking comment on its wish list that could be covered by a proposed sales tax increase, as groups in support and opposition of the amendment ready campaigns.
BOLIVAR, Mo -- The Missouri Department of Transportation is still seeking comment on its wish list that could be covered by a proposed sales tax increase, as groups in support and opposition of the amendment ready campaigns.

"People are telling us all over the state, that they want additional safety improvements, they want additional capacity improvements to help with some of the congestion," Missouri Department of Transportation engineer Andy Mueller said. "People need to understand that we'd be happy to deliver those projects that they've asked us to deliver, but we cannot do it without additional revenue."

MoDOT has held several open house discussions about the list of projects they'd like to use the nearly $5.4 billion in revenue from the the a three-fourths-cent sales tax increase. KOLR 10 attended a meeting at the Community Memorial Hospital in Bolivar on Wednesday night.

Several organizations, including the state Chamber of Commerce have endorsed the tax. The group Missourians for Safe Transportion and Jobs is launching a campaign to urge voters to approve the tax, Amendment 7, in August.

"Passage of the measure will create jobs, improve road safety and ensure fiscal accountability," a statement reads on the group's website.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, about $1 million has been raised in support of a publicity campaign urging voters to approve the. The Post-Dispatch reports the opposition has much less -- just about $1,200.

The group Missourians for Better Transportation Solutions is trying to rally voters against the tax.

"We have little money, but a sincere passion to defeat Amendment 7," a statement reads on the that group's website.

No matter what voters decide in August, the transportation officials that helped shape the list say one thing is assured.

"The conversation has to happen, if we are gonna pay for roads we have to have a mechanism to do that,"
Dan Watts, the transportation planner for the Southwest Missouri Council of Governments, said.

"With all the costs around us rising, since any revenue increase happened for Missouri transportation, as the states transportation dept we will not be able to maintain the existing system in its current condition," Mueller said.

To see MoDOT's full plan and to add your comments, visit modot.org.


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