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Rural Missouri Magazine

Roads, bridges and Proposition B

by Frank Stork

State legislators in Jefferson City worked long and hard to find common ground on a road and bridge plan that could gain strong voter support. To their credit, our senators and representatives reached agreement on a plan before they adjourned.

Without taking a stand on Proposition B, we will publish information next month to help our readers make an informed decision on this critical funding issue. We will be asked to vote on the measure at the primary election on August 6.

Our state constitution says we voters will have the final word on the type and amount of taxes we will pay to build, repair and maintain our roads and bridges. First though, it was the duty of our Missouri Senate and House of Representatives to chisel out a plan for our consideration.

After months of debate on numerous funding plans, a resolution with strong bi-partisan support was adopted by our legislators before they concluded their recent legislative session in May. As a result of their action, the fate of this important issue has been passed to you and me.

Proponents of the road and bridge plan clearly understand that we voters like to know exactly what it is we are voting for; especially, when we are being asked to raise our own taxes. With that in mind, the state Department of Transportation is expected to issue a list of projects that would be funded with the additional tax revenues gained through Proposition B. That detailed information is considered critical for gaining voter support.

Secretary of State Matt Blunt says that the 4-cent-per-gallon tax increase and a half-cent sales tax increase will raise $483 million. The lawmakers who approved the ballot measure estimate the proposal will raise $511 million. That $28 million difference will need some explanation.

We, who are users of our state roads and bridges, know we must pay taxes for their construction and upkeep. With that understanding, we want strong assurances that the tax dollars we pay into the highway fund are well managed and wisely spent. The current campaign for improving our roads and bridges should focus on those legitimate public concerns.

We look forward to visiting with you in the August issue of Rural Missouri with more information on Proposition B, and hope to see you at the polls on Aug. 6!

Stork was executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives and a member of Three Rivers Electric Co-op.

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Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives

Rural Missouri
2722 E. McCarty Street
P.O. Box 1645 • Jefferson City, Mo. 65102
573-659-3423

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