Missouri lawmaker offers state road funding plan

| 1/31/2008

A state senator is proposing an amendment to the Missouri Constitution that would increase funding for highways without increasing tax rates.

Sen. John Loudon, R-Chesterfield, said he is concerned about long-term funding options in the state because of an expected hit in future federal funding. To combat the problem, he has offered a measure that would earmark 10 percent of state revenue growth each year for roads, bridges and other transportation projects.

That money now pays for services that include schools and mental health services. Roads are funded with fuel, vehicle and license tag fees.

Using 2008 as the base year, Loudon said the plan would send $36 million to transportation in 2010. Funds would grow to more than $1.3 billion by 2030.

Officials with the Missouri Department of Transportation also warn that transportation funding “falls off a cliff” in 2010. At that time, funding is expected to drop from $1.2 billion annually to about $570 million because the state will start repaying bonds approved by voters in 2004 that are being used for road and bridge work.

Loudon’s plan would send 95 percent of new revenue to roads and bridges. Transit would claim 5 percent.

Projects likely to benefit from the plan include a $3.5 billion rebuild of Interstate 70 from Independence, MO, to Lake Saint Louis, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Pending approval by the General Assembly and governor, the proposal would go before voters in the November election. The joint resolution – SJR43 – now is awaiting consideration in the Senate Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Missouri in 2008, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor