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Todd Dills

Missouri voters speak: Sales tax not the place for raising highway monies

| August 07, 2014
i70sign

Interstate 70 within Missouri’s borders has been under the microscope for potential tolling under a federal pilot program for tolling existing lanes for the last several years. Tuesday’s ballot measure in Missouri would have scuttled such plans definitively for 10 years had it been successful.

Missouri voters in Tuesday’s primary elections, as I wrote last week, were presented with a ballot measure that would have raised the state retail sales tax a fraction of a cent to help fund transportation projects — it would also, as I noted, have prohibited for 10 years tolling as a means of funding and likewise any boosts in the state fuel tax. 

“The truckers lost big,” noted reporter Jo Mannies in a roundtable following the results published here. MoDOT, following the 58 (no votes) to 41 (yes) percent defeat of the measure at the ballot box, didn’t exactly commit to either further toll project pursuit or raising that tax, but they did note a need within the state. 

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Missouri is among states that have floated toll efforts on exiting interstates (I-70 in their case) by joining the federal pilot initiative to toll existing federal lanes. The other two states, North Carolina and Virginia, saw voters or lawmakers reject their particular efforts relative to I-95. Missouri hasn’t made reported progress on the notion since bills to push it forward stalled in the legislature nearly two years and the further pushback emerged to result in Tuesday’s ballot measure. 

In some sense, noted Julian Walker of the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates, the election results are a no-brainer, telling us “what we already know: voters are not eager to raise taxes on themselves, even if the increase amounts to pennies per driver,” he said. “It is unfortunate that a broadly popular provision of the legislation to ban tolls was dragged down in the process.”  

  • DonM

    Diverting Road Use Taxes collected at the pump, and using them to support other government programs is a violation of the process of fair government in the USA. There were a few guys some years ago that protested against taxation without representation and it was a pretty big deal. We have way to many crooked lawmakers making the rules up at they go. We have already established rules for the distribution of moneys collected for the Highway Fund, money collected for this purpose should only be used for this purpose. This is why we now have shortfall.

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