Government
9:29 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Missouri Needs $1 Billion To Maintain Highways

A so-called “Blue Ribbon” committee created by the Missouri House to examine the state’s transportation needs has released its report, one day before the start of this year’s legislative session.  But the House Speaker doesn’t agree with some of the options panel members endorsed.

Those options include raising either the state’s fuel tax or creating a sales tax dedicated to transportation needs.  House Speaker Tim Jones says he prefers exploring options that are “revenue neutral.”

“I believe there’s plenty of government that can still be cut.  We’re faced every year with an ever increasing bloating entitlement system, and I’d rather spend the money on education, roads and bridges, and less on entitlements,” says Jones.

He also indicated that he’d be willing to cut Medicaid in order to insure the state’s transportation needs are met. 

Retired Democratic State Senator Bill McKenna co-chaired the panel.  He says some of the options won’t appeal to lawmakers.

“We wanted to lay everything out and let the legislature decide,” says McKenna.

He says personally he’d prefer a dedicated sales tax to help pay for Missouri’s transportation needs. 

The report concluded that Missouri needs an additional $600 million to $1 billion  a year – for several years – to maintain its transportation system.