Transportation tax

Gov. Jay Nixon says there's a distinction between a gas tax increase and "trying to get some sort n between a gas tax increase and as being different "than trying to get some sort of generalized additional revenue."
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

There are some absolutes in electoral politics: Babies will get kissed. Hands will get shook. And politicians will promise not to raise taxes.

This week’s edition of the Politically Speaking podcast has a mid-Missouri flair to it – primarily because St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are welcoming state Sen. Mike Kehoe to the show.

(via Flickr/KOMUnews)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is calling for state highway officials to examine the possibility of imposing tolls on parts of Interstate 70 – and to report back to him before the end of this month.

In a letter sent Tuesday, the governor told the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission that he wanted them to report by Dec. 31 on “analyzing and providing options for utilizing tolls to improve and expand I-70 and to free up resources for road and bridge projects throughout the state.”

Nixon noted that the newest parts of I-70 in Missouri “are 50 years old.”

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

Citizens for Modern Transit has been advocating for public transportation in the St. Louis region for thirty years. But at a lunch last week celebrating its anniversary, the focus was on the future. Keynote speakers included Missouri Department of Transportation Director Dave Nichols, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and St. Clair County Chairman Mark Kern.

Parth Shah, St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 5:37 p.m. Thurs., Sept. 4)

In political campaigns, the biggest spenders often win. But not always.

That ended up being a major theme in Missouri's Aug. 5 primary for which the final campaign-finance reports -- due Thursday -- showed stark contrasts.

St. Louis County Councilman Steve Stenger, now the Democratic nominee for county executive, heads into his fall campaign with roughly $285,000 in the bank and an even larger debt.

Gov. Jay Nixon (UPI file photo/Bill Greenblatt)

While in St. Louis Saturday to give the commencement address for the Missouri branch of the online school Western Governors University, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon refused to take responsibility for last week’s failure of Amendment 7. The ballot measure would have raised sales taxes by three-quarters of a percent for ten years in order to raise money for bridges, roads and public transportation.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Gov. Jay Nixon may be the primary reason a proposed transportation sales tax failed this week at the polls, according to one political expert.

George Connor, political science professor at Missouri State University in Springfield, says the governor's decision to place the 0.75 percent sales tax on the August primary ballot likely doomed it to failure because most of the state's primary races drew in GOP voters.

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio's Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum talk about the week’s politics.  This week, we dive into last night's election results.

The Politically Speaking crew broke down the results from Tuesday's primary elections. Among other things, the trio examined:

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri transportation leaders are looking to regroup following voters' overwhelming rejection of a proposed  sales tax to fund road and bridge improvements on Tuesday.

Despite supporters spending millions, the measure lost by roughly 58 percent to 41 percent. And it lost across the state -- in St. Louis, St. Louis County, the Kansas City area and even in rural parts of the state. In St. Louis and St. Louis County, the measure went down by a 2-to-1 margin.

A commercial chicken house in Florida.
USDA | Wikipedia

It was an early night for most of the amendments, but the farm interests had to stay up late. Shortly after midnight, unofficial state returns showed Amendment 1, the "right to farm" proposal, winning by 2,528 votes. That was a a margin of only about one-quarter of 1 percent, which is close enough to entitle the opposition to a recount.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting in statewide, Amendment 1 passed with 498,751 votes, or 50.127 percent.  The "no" votes came in at 496,223, or 49.873 percent.

(via Flickr/KOMUnews)

Missourians decisively rejected a sales tax increase earmarked for transportation projects, making for a striking defeat for a well-financed campaign from proponents and a victory for an ideologically diverse opposition coalition. 

The tax – commonly known as “Amendment 7” or the “transportation tax” – would have raised Missouri’s sales tax by 0.75 percent for 10 years. It would have also barred Missouri's policymakers from instituting tolls or raising the state’s gas tax during that same time period.

Parth Shah, St. Louis Public Radio

By any conceivable measure, Missouri doesn’t have a particularly robust election cycle this year. But that doesn't mean that there aren't lessons to learn.

Even though this year's primary season featured fewer contested races than usual, the past few months still produced twists, turns and surprises. That’s especially true because a number of ballot initiatives were placed on the August ballot, making up for a relative dearth of competitive legislative contests.

Although several issues and races are crowding Tuesday’s primary ballot, the transportation tax amendment has been particularly contentious. The amendment increases the state sales tax, now 4.225 percent, by three-quarters of a cent to fund transportation projects.

/Via Flickr/ KOMU news, Manu Bhandari

The road to improvement — or a dead end? The transportation tax, or Amendment 7, would raise the state sales tax by three-quarters of a cent for 10 years to fund transportation improvements across the state.

(via Flickr/lowjumpingfrog)

Missouri's Aug. 5 primary ballot includes several Constitutional amendments, but none has been as contentious as Amendment 7, the transportation tax proposal.

Amendment 7

(via Missouri Department of Transportation)

The campaign for a statewide transportation sales tax has been in a spending frenzy in July – and still has more money to burn.

The latest campaign-finance report shows the group called Missourians for Safe Transportation and New Jobs has $1.67 million left to spend during the final days leading up to the Aug. 5 election.

And that’s after spending more than $2 million on TV ads during first four weeks of July.

We know that you listen to us on air and check our website for news and information about our region. We hope that you look at our website every day, but we know that's not always possible. So, once a week, on Friday, we will highlight some of the website's top stories of the week.

Primary election 2014

Dooley And Stenger Defend Attack Ads On 'St. Louis On The Air'

Photo courtesy of MoDOT

If Missourians back a transportation sales tax next month, road workers can expect a busy decade. 

That's a key takeaway of a St. Louis Public Radio analysis of a project list approved by the state's Highways and Transportation Commission. It's what will be funded if voters approve a 0.75 percent sales tax increase on Aug. 5.

flickr/yomanimus

The seven or eight people who love watching political ads will be in for an exciting three weeks.  

Everybody else in Missouri may want to become familiar with the “fast forward” button on their DVRs.

a rolling dollar bill
dleafy | sxc.hu

The group backing the proposed transportation sales tax is the biggest money-raising operation in the state – but it has yet to air a single TV ad.

Missourians for Safe Transportation and New Jobs, the campaign committee for the sales tax known as Amendment 7, appears to be entering the final weeks of the campaign with more than $2.5 million to spend.

MoDOT

Missouri transportation commissioners have approved a list of projects totalling $4.8 billion that would be funded by a 0.75 percent sales tax that voters will decide next month.

The wish list contains more than 800 projects, most of them road and bridge improvements. If passed, money would go to replacing or improving 330 bridges across the state and resurfacing more than 3,200 miles of roads. But the list also includes improvements at 24 airports, seven river ports, 14 railroads, and 71 sidewalks.  

stacks of money
sxc.hu

The first week of July has been a boon for the main group campaigning for the proposed transportation sales tax on the Aug. 5 ballot and for just-announced Republican state treasurer candidate Eric Schmitt.

In the last 24 hours alone, Missourians for Safe Transportation & New Jobs Inc. has collected at least $410,000 – much of it from road construction firms and related unions.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Tuesday, updated on Wednesday, July 2 with "St. Louis on the Air" interview

Former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood is sounding the alarm bells about the federal government’s dwindling Highway Trust Fund.

LaHood — a former Republican member of Congress from Illinois — wants Congress to raise the federal gas tax to prevent the fund from going belly up.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Missourians will vote Aug. 5 on a 0.75 percent sales tax increase for transportation projects. The proposal — commonly known as the transportation tax — would generate billions of dollars over the next decade to fix roads, repair bridges and improve mass transit. 

The stakes are high. Supporters say Missouri needs more money for its aging transportation infrastructure. With gas tax revenue dwindling and federal funding uncertain, some policymakers see the sales tax as a guaranteed way to fund transportation needs.

Kristi Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

From horses, trolleys, trains and steamboats to bikes, cars, buses and planes, the ways St. Louisans get from place to place have undergone a lot of changes over the years. In years to come, even more transportation changes are inevitable.

As the administrator of federal transportation dollars, the East-West Gateway Council of Governments plays a big part in deciding what those changes will look like.

/ Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Department of Transportation kicked off a series of public meetings Monday on possible roadway, bridge and mass transit projects funded with a proposed transportation sales tax. 

MoDOT is holding a series of open houses across the state for the public to weigh in on potential projects funded with a .75 percent sales tax increase. Voters are to decide on the issue in the August 5 election. MoDOT held it's first open houses on  Monday in Clayton and Arnold, and it has three more scheduled in the St. Louis region throughout the week. 

(via Flickr/KOMUnews)

If voters approve a 0.75 percent sales tax increase this August, the St. Louis area will get bus rapid transit, a light rail stop, a better port and an expanded I-270, among other things. 

That's according to a list the Missouri Department of Transportation released Friday of $5-billion dollars worth of projects that would be funded by the tax increase. 

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis area leaders squelched any doubts last week about how they want to spend money from a transportation sales tax. 

Sure, some of the regional projects funded with the .75 percent sales tax increase would bolster mass transit service or bike trails. But that's the exception rather than the rule: Most of the roughly $1.5 billion worth of requested projects would go toward roads, highways and bridges.

File photo

Three St. Louis area counties would focus on road and highway construction if a 0.75 percent transportation sales tax increase passes later this summer. 

This week, four area counties plus St. Louis turned in their preliminary lists of projects that could be funded over a 10-year period with the transportation tax. They're working with East-West Gateway to formulate a list of projects to send to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.

/Via Flickr/ KOMU news, Manu Bhandari

The city of St. Louis and St. Louis County have plans for nearly $1.1 billion worth of transportation projects if a statewide sales tax increase passes this August. 

St. Louis and St. Louis County officials revealed their wish list of projects that would be funded with the .75 percent sales tax increase.  If the transportation tax passes in August, St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson and Franklin counties and  the city of St. Louis, are expected receive about $1.49 billion over a 10-year period from the state’s transportation commission.

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