Proposed transportation sales tax hits dead end

The largest project that would result from the passage of Amendment 7 would be the $500 million widening of Interstate 70 to six lanes. | Photo Courtesy of Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations
Amendment 7 would have increased the state sales tax to support transportation projects, but voters rejected the measure. | Courtesy of Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

Missouri voters on Tuesday rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have raised the state sales tax by three-quarters of one percent to help fund transportation projects. The $5.4 billion in revenue projected to be generated over 10 years by Amendment 7 would have funded state and local highways, roads and bridges, but 59 percent of voters rejected the measure.

Missourians for Safe Transportation and New Jobs, a PAC backed by trucking and construction interest groups, had campaigned in support of the amendment. Jewell Patek, campaign manager for the PAC, called the voting result a “missed opportunity to secure Missouri’s transportation future,” according to a press release.

“Well we’re pretty excited about (the results),” said Thomas Shrout, treasurer of the opposition group Missourians for Better Transportation Solutions. “We all want to see our roads fixed. It’s just about finding the right way of going about doing it.”

Shrout’s organization had argued that the tax hike would have placed an unnecessary burden on local retailers and was unfair to those who used major roads and bridges less frequently. Shrout said the organization plans on meeting Thursday to discuss future steps and looks forward to working with the people of Missouri to find a better solution.

The Missouri Department of Transportation declined to respond to media inquiry Tuesday evening, but MoDOT Director David Nichols said the department will be hosting a press conference 8 a.m. Wednesday.


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