Transportation conference will explore funding alternatives

The 2016 Missouri Conference on Transportation, hosted by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, kicked off Thursday at the Capitol Plaza in Jefferson City with discussions of infrastructure rebuilding costs and funding solutions.

The conference opened with speeches from Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission Chairman Stephen Miller and Department of Transportation Director Patrick McKenna.

Miller stated the need to focus on preservation, maintenance and improvement of highways and roads through a “variety of different sources.” McKenna, who has been in office for two months, said the discussion should be focused wholly on safety.

Currently, MoDOT is tasked with maintaining over 34,000 miles of road – the seventh largest infrastructure system nationwide – but invests only $17,000 per mile. Kansas, in comparison, invests $70,000 per mile.

Missouri Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association (MPCA) Executive Director Ron Leone discussed transportation funding options at his presentation, called “Transportation Funding: Tobacco & Motor Fuel Taxes.”

Leone shared the association’s support for a uniform $0.04 per gallon fuel tax, which would bring in $256 million per year total in new funds for infrastructure. The tax would distribute 70 percent to the state, 15 percent to the counties and 15 percent to the cities. Leone also shared the association’s opposition to toll roads, automatic cost of living analyses, sales tax on motor fuel and privatizing rest areas.

Read more: The Missouri Times

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