The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

April 17, 2014

Other Views: Funding for state’s roads

— Missouri is finding there is no good alternative to growing the economy, adding new well-paying jobs and expanding the tax base.

This is particularly true when it comes to how to pay for such necessities as modern roads and bridges, which underpin the economy. The answer lies in spreading the costs now, then tapping into the growth in tax revenues in the future.

Our system for funding road upkeep and improvements has been broken for some time. And of this there is no doubt: Improvements are overdue.

We are not fans of one radical thought, which would be to save costs by simply turning hundreds of miles of state-maintained roadways over to local governments. Rural residents almost certainly would see a cost shift that would disproportionately drive up their taxes and force reductions in their services. Either that, or the roads would deteriorate and these areas would be cut off from future economic growth.

The truth is much of northwest Missouri has promise today precisely because roads exist to connect our smaller communities to larger ones. Just as significantly, changes in communications and technologies have made our rural areas more viable — but only if they have adequate infrastructure, including safe roads.

One proposal floated in the Legislature seems clearly insufficient. Estimates say this idea of raising the gas tax by 3 cents on every gallon, along with a higher increase in the tax on diesel fuel, would produce $180 million annually. But this would provide only about one-fourth of the money required in coming years for road maintenance and improvements.

A cautious, divided Missouri House of Representatives has advanced a proposal to have voters approve a 1-cent sales tax increase that would generate $800 million annually for transportation during the 10 years it would be in effect. The proposed constitutional amendment will be on the November ballot if the Senate goes along. Last year, in a similar scenario, it did not.

This past week, advocates for our region descended on Jefferson City to press our concerns, with transportation needs at the top of the list. They heard about the penny sales tax proposal, ideas for tolls along Interstate 70 and possible increases in fuel taxes.

Hardly any of these options are appealing. Still, a solution is needed, it needs to be fair to rural areas, and it needs to move forward soon.

— St. Joseph News-Press

1
Text Only
Opinion
Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

How do you plan to vote on Missouri's Amendment 5 on the Aug. 5 ballot?

A. For it.
B. Against it.
     View Results
Facebook
NDN Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Sports