U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, criticized state lawmakers Tuesday for failing to pass a transportation bill, while previewing federal legislation to improve the nation’s infrastructure.
McCaskill called the state’s $600 million construction budget to oversee 33,000 miles of roadways a “recipe for disaster.”
“We cannot have a strong economy in Missouri if we do not have an ongoing commitment to investing in our highways, our bridges, and even our lochs and dams, and projects on our great rivers,” McCaskill said.
A group of Republicans in the Missouri Senate has blocked a proposed constitutional amendment that would create a one-cent sales tax to help fund the state’s transportation needs.
The tax would require voter approval and would expire after 10 years unless voters renew it. Five percent of revenues raised would be designated for cities and another five percent for counties to pay for local transportation needs. Those factors were not enough to sway several Republicans, including Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph, who conducted a filibuster Tuesday night.
Legislation has stalled in the Missouri Senate that would allow investor-owned electric companies to charge consumers for infrastructure improvements.
Opponents argued that Ameren Missouri, Empire District and Kansas City Power and Light (KCP&L) make enough money to pay for improvements without levying an Infrastructure System Replacement Surcharge (ISRS) on their customers. Several Senators are blocking the measure, including Republican Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph.