A Missouri group pushing a transportation sales and use tax for the November ballot has suspended signature gathering in hopes that the Legislature will put the tax to voters, a route that would be less costly and time consuming. Also, a legal challenge by the Missouri Association for Social Welfare to the proposed ballot language could negate any signatures gathered before the court rules on it, according to Bill McKenna, a former member of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission and treasurer of the Missourians for Safe Transportation and New Jobs.
Should transportation funding bills begin to bog down in the Missouri Legislature, McKenna said, the group is prepared to resume its work to qualify the measure for the November 2014 ballot. The group must gather at least 170,000 signatures by May 4 in order for the measure to appear on the November ballot. The Missouri Department of Transportation’s budget problems compelled highway commissioners to vote last month against adding any new transportation projects to the state’s five-year spending plan.