New Missouri Gov. Mike Parson says that improving the state’s roads and bridges appears to be one of the top issues all over the state that has bipartisan support.
Parson ended his 10-stop listening tour on Wednesday by visiting the Cortex business complex in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis. He said that in all of his meetings — in rural and urban areas — civic and business leaders called for improving Missouri’s infrastructure.
“I think it’s so important that we move forward on infrastructure. We just can’t keep kicking the can down the road and expect any different result,” he said. “And it really does matter how we move forward as a state to do that. So I think we’re going to be working hard on that.”
Parson said voters will have their voices heard on the topic in November. A ballot proposal calls for phasing in a 10-cent-a-gallon increase in Missouri’s gas tax to pay for road and bridge projects. The state’s current 17-cent-a-gallon tax is among the nation’s lowest.
The other key issue that Parson said was regularly brought up during his tour was the need for more workforce development.
During a brief news conference, he also touched on:
- Security and traffic cameras that the city of St. Louis has set up in various neighborhoods. Parson said he was concerned about reports that the Missouri Department of Transportation has ordered that they be removed.
“I’m a big fan of law enforcement,’’ said Parson, a former sheriff. He said he plans to sit down with MoDOT officials and his administration’s general counsel to see if that decision can be reversed.
- The new members that he has named to the State Board of Education. Parson said he thought it was crucial to get the board “up and running’’ after being in a stalemate for months because of former Gov. Eric Greitens’ disagreements with previous board members and its staff.
- The importance of putting a new lieutenant governor in place. There currently is no legislation that makes it clear that the governor can fill the vacancy.
“We’ve seen what happened in the last 11 days,’’ said Parson, who was lieutenant governor until Greitens resigned earlier this month amid threats of impeachment.
Parson said the lieutenant governor serves on many boards and commissions, which need that official’s influence.
In addition, he added, “We never know what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
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