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Missouri Transportation and Development Council endorses Amendment 7

Missouri, the crossroad of America, is at a critical crossroad on it how it should fund its roads.

As an organization of businesses that has long taken interest in the transportation infrastructure of Missouri, the Missouri Transportation and Development Council (MTD) endorses the latest effort to keep commerce moving in our state with Amendment 7 on the August ballot.

Since 1951, our organization has foreseen the need for adequate funding for not only the state’s interstate highways, but for the transportation system of the state as a whole; from state roads to freight rail traffic, air and passenger travel. We have backed MoDOT’s efforts to do the most with the least amount of funding through the years.

We have seen MoDOT’s budget drastically drop from $1.3 billion in 2009 to a projected $325 million by 2017. And all the while, our bridges and overpasses continue to deteriorate. I-70 and I-44 are outdated, crowded and crumbling. Maintenance is all that MoDOT can look forward to, and even that’s in jeopardy if funding does indeed fall to that $325 million level.

Missouri has the sixth largest road system in the United States and it’s supported by the sixth-lowest gas tax in the country. Yet, efforts to increase that tax, or install toll booths on certain roads, have fallen flat at the ballot box and in the legislature.

The idea that raising gas taxes in Missouri is the answer to the transportation question is troubling in itself. Raising gas taxes would cause transportation companies to raise prices for goods shipped through and to Missouri. Prices on everything you buy would rise.

A sales tax increase would not cause prices to rise. Under Amendment 7, the state sales tax on groceries, pharmaceuticals, and gasoline would not rise during the duration of the transportation sales tax.

Transportation companies will continue to pay the gas tax as they move freight through and to the state, as well as the increased sales tax on items they purchase.

Missouri sits in a prime location for businesses. It’s in the middle of the country, with major highways carrying traffic both north and south and east and west. It is serviced with rail lines, major international airports and river terminals. If any of these vital links is allowed to fall into disrepair, Missouri’s economy is placed in peril. And Missouri could become a crossroad to nowhere.

Rod Reid

Chairman, Missouri Transportation and Development Council

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