What's Next for Missouri After Voters Reject Sales Tax Measure?

In the wake of the decisive rejection of a ballot measure on August 5 to raise the state sales tax by .75% for a package of transportation improvements, how will the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) meet the state's transportation needs?

2 minute read

August 8, 2014, 12:00 PM PDT

By Irvin Dawid

"Transportation officials had big plans for the nearly half-a-billion dollars a year [for 10 years] that would have been raised by a higher sales tax," writes KMOX reporter Brett Blume.

As noted here after the election, revenue was slated for 800 projects statewide, with 10 percent in the St. Louis region. Now MoDOT will use existing revenue for maintenance, according to Greg Horn, St. Louis District Engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation, who notes "that money will be depleted in three years unless new funding sources are found."

One of the major projects that would have been funded if Amendment 7 had passed was a complete rebuild of Interstate 270 in North County, one of the region’s oldest and most dilapidated corridors. Other projects put on hold include a new interchange at Interstates 70 and 170 and bus rapid transit for Metro.

"(L)awmakers will have to go back to the drawing board to figure out how to fix the state’s transportation infrastructure, most notably a plan to rebuild Interstate 70," writes Jason Hancock for The Kansas City Star.

One option they might consider is "going back to the legislature for a gas tax hike," favored by Tom Shrout with Missourians for Better Transportation Solutions, the group that opposed Amendment 7, according to a staff report by KMOX.

“I don’t know if it’s going to go that way or not, but it’s something that ought to be on the table and legislators ought to give serious consideration to it,” he says.

Considering that Missouri has the nation's 46th lowest gas tax at 17.30 cents [PDF] and it's been over 18 years since it was last increased, according to this chart from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Shrout's suggestion would appear to have merit.

St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay’s chief of staff, Jeff Rainford, apparently wasn't listening. "We’re kind of back to the drawing board in Missouri,” says Slay. “I don’t know that anybody has any bright ideas," he adds.

He says voters, along with not liking the sales tax, also don’t seem to like toll roads or gas taxes.

Results from a new AP-GfK poll confirm his opinion, though it dealt with federal, not state funding of transportation. Raising the gas tax, for example, received the least amount of support of the four options, only 14 percent. However, the most favored option, albeit with only 30 percent, was turning responsibility over to states, i.e. devolution, which judging by Tuesday's results, would not appear to work well in Missouri.

The other two options were a mileage-based user fee and having private companies build new roads and bridges and recouping their investment with tolls.

Thursday, August 7, 2014 in KMOX

Ornate, tan stone capitol building with a gold dome roof and low-rise city buildings in the background.

States Are Banning Guaranteed Income Programs

Four states now have laws in place that prevent cities and counties from creating or continuing guaranteed income programs, and several more have tried or are trying.

May 23, 2024 - Bloomberg CityLab

Aerial view of Oceanwide Plaza skyscrapers covered with graffiti tags.

LA’s Abandoned Towers Loom as a “$1.2 Billion Ruin of Global Capital”

Oceanwide Plaza, shuttered mid-construction after its developer filed for bankruptcy, has stood vacant on prime Los Angeles real estate since 2019.

May 21, 2024 - The Architect's Newspaper

Close-up of electric stove range with front burners red-hot.

California Cities Suspend Natural Gas Bans Following Court Ruling

A Ninth Circuit court ruling forced Berkeley to reverse its ban on natural gas in new buildings, prompting other cities to suspend their own efforts to promote all-electric buildings.

May 28, 2024 - East Bay Times

BART heavy rail train on elevated track pulling into Concord, CA station with cloudy sky and trees in background.

Bay Area Transit Projects Awarded $18 Million

The funding supports eight ‘near-term’ projects slated for completion within the next one to three years.

2 hours ago - Contra Costa Herald

Silver UTA On Demand transit van in Utah.

Utah On-Demand Transit Hits 1 Million Rides

The service connects outlying communities with fixed-route transit lines.

3 hours ago - Utah Transit Authority

Texas Flood

Texas Flood Plan Shows One in Six Residents Live With Flood Risk

One-fourth of the state’s land falls within 100-year or 500-year floodplains.

4 hours ago - The Texas Tribune

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.