Transportation tax

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.

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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.

(via Flickr/KOMUnews)

If you had $1.49 billion for transportation projects, how would you spend it? Would you repair highways? Bolster mass transit service? Enhance bike lanes?

This isn’t some academic exercise. The St. Louis region’s political leaders are considering how to divide the potential proceeds from a 0.75 percent sales tax increase for transportation. These decisions could have a transformative impact on how St. Louis area residents get around.

But here’s the twist: You have to make this decision very, very quickly.

Gov. Jay Nixon speaks to a class at Rockwood Summit High School in Fenton.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

When it comes to a proposal to raise the state’s sales tax to pay for transportation projects, two of Missouri’s top Democratic officials appear to be on opposing sides of the fence.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill favors the proposal, which – if approved by voters in August – would enact a 10-year, 0.75 percent sales tax for transportation projects. And even though he’s sent signals that he opposes the proposal, Gov. Jay Nixon is withholding statements about the tax increase for now.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Few could accuse the Missouri General Assembly of languishing during its last few days of session.

In fact, the legislature’s last dash was something of a whirlwind: It featured fierce debates over bills about student transfers and abortion restrictions. Lawmakers also sent proposals on a transportation tax and early voting procedures to the November ballot. Other efforts fizzled out, including last-minute pushes to expand and reconfigure the state’s Medicaid system.

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Missouri voters will be asked this fall to consider a three-fourth-cent sales tax to pay for highway improvements, but even supporters are pessimistic about its chances.

The Missouri House voted Wednesday to approve the ballot proposal, accepting the state Senate’s language that reduced the proposed sales tax from the initial one-cent proposal.

Flickr | jimbowen0306)

With fights over tax cuts and budgets out of the way, the Missouri General Assembly appears poised to spend its final week focusing on some familiar topics: guns, abortion and voting rights.

    

Measures to restrict enforcement of federal laws, triple the waiting period for an abortion and to ask voters to mandate photo IDs at the polls are among the hot-button proposals expected to eat up some of legislators’ precious floor time during the final five days.

(via Flickr / jimbowen0306)

The next session of the Missouri Legislature opens Wednesday, January 8, and with it an uptick in political activity in the state.

Terry Jones, Founders’ Professor of Political Science and Public Policy Administration at the University of Missouri-St. Louis joined St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum in studio with St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss what to expect during the 2014 session.

Among the issues to keep an eye on this session will be the school transfer issue, Medicaid expansion and transportation tax.

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