Two Transportation Measures Soundly Rejected in Missouri
Roche Madden of KTVI reports from a "No on 7" party in South St. Louis that is small and "laid back but happy" with their apparent victory. He states that the problem they had with the measure was not the tax itself but how the revenue would be spent.
"The vote 'No' people tell me they`re not against improvements to transportation, they don`t like the way the make-up of the proposal is balanced," he states. Surprisingly their message was "Less roads more transit." One gentleman interviewed at the party (in the video) wanted to see more funds spent on improved Amtrak service and Metrolink expansion.
The ¾ of a penny sales tax would raise around five billion dollars [over 10 years]. There would be 800 statewide projects, about ten percent of them in the St. Louis region. A great deal of the money would be used by MoDOT for roads and highways. Some of the funds would be spent on other projects on the railways, ports and airports.
However, the news anchor, in introducing the story, states that opponents believe that "the sales tax will hit the poor the hardest while truckers will pay very little", a basic problem when policy makers choose to stray from a user fee option.
Madden interviewed a supporter who feared the defeat of the amendment would lead to a balkanization of road projects, with some communities raising funds to improve their roads which would connect to roads lacking revenue for upkeep.
Politico's Adam Snider writes that the sales tax "would have sent billions of dollars to highway and transit projects - things like widening I-70 between Kansas City and St. Louis and a streetcar in the K.C."
Speaking of that streetcar, Kansas City KCTV 5 News reports that 61 percent of voters were opposing a future expansion of the streetcar which ironically broke ground on election day. The rejection is considered a significant defeat for Mayor Sly James who was a major supporter of the project.
"The measure would have allowed the formation of a new transportation development district [TDD] that would partially pay for the more than $500 million streetcar expansion proposal," writes Austin Alonzo.
If it had passed, voters would have to decide in November whether to approve a specific package of property and sales tax increases to be levied within the TDD
"For now, the loss puts the brakes on Kansas City’s plans to build another 7.8-miles of streetcar lines...," he adds