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Viewers Weigh in on Proposed Sales Tax Hike for Road Projects

Posted: Jul 1, 2014 5:28 AM by Jasmine Bailey, Marissa Balmas, Brendan Cullerton and Alex Mallin, KOMU 8 Reporters
Updated: Jul 1, 2014 5:28 AM

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COLUMBIA - Ahead of an August ballot measure on a sales tax increase to fund transportation projects, KOMU 8 News has compiled data on how Missouri roads stack up nationally (see map), how previous efforts have fared in front of Missouri voters and how MoDot's budget has broken down since 2011 (see interactive chart).

Missourians will vote August 5 on the proposed three-fourths of a cent sales tax increase.

KOMU 8 News surveyed viewers on whether they're in favor of the proposal. Below is a sample of some of the comments received.

"I think a higher gasoline tax is more appropriate as people who use the roads most will be helping to pay for them."

"State legislators kowtow to wealthy donors to reduce state income tax on the wealthy, then put a sales tax increase on the ballot to replace the lost revenue shifting the tax burden to the poor and middle class. A yes vote condones this lunacy."

"Roads are key to the economy. There has not been any funding changes to keep up with needs."

"Maintaining and repairing roads and bridges including road striping. Only a small amount, less than 10%, should be used for new roads and bridges until we can afford to keep the ones we already have in good condition. Even then, maintenance needs to be the main priority."

By a small margin, a majority of those surveyed did not support the tax increase.

Here's a break down of some key concerns those surveyed had with the roads.

In 2013, Missouri ranked eighth best in the U.S. in the Annual Highway Ranking System by the conservative think tank Reason.org.

State-wide, Missouri is above the national average in three of four categories - amount of narrow rural lanes - percent of deficient bridges and fatality rate. Below is a map comparing highway rankings by state (The top five are starred and the bottom ten are in red).

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MoDot's budget is $2.3 billion, bordering states Illinois and Kansas are $5 billion and $1.8 billion, respectively.

MoDot currently has a number of proposed road construction projects:

  • Restructuring the Route 63/I-70 interchange for better traffic flow
  • Extending Stadium Blvd. to route WW (the street Broadway turns into around Old Hawthorne)
  • Renovating Columbia Regional Airport
  • Increasing Public Transportation Hours

The City of Columbia was granted $10,669,425 in federal and state funds for its local budget. Of that, $229,344 was spent on street construction. There was $9,406,981 dollar in the city budget for transportation, including streets and sidewalks, street lighting and traffic. $7,409,327 was dedicated to streets and sidewalks.

Missouri voters have a history of defeating tax increases. The charts below show the results on several measures.


2012: Missouri Tobacco Tax Initiative, Proposition B, was on the November 6, 2012 ballot in the state of Missouri as an initiated state statute, where it was defeated.


The measure would have created the Health and Education Trust Fund by using the revenue generated from a tax of $0.0365 per cigarette and 25% of the manufacturer's invoice price for roll-your-own tobacco and 15% for other tobacco products.

2006: The Missouri Healthy Future Trust Fund Amendment, also known as Amendment 3, was on the November 7, 2006 ballot in Missouri as an initiated constitutional amendment, where it was defeated. The measure would have created the Healthy Future Trust Fund which would have been used to reduce and prevent tobacco use, increase funding for health care access, increase treatment of low-income individuals and Medicaid recipients and cover administrative costs. The measure would have been funded by a tax of four cents per cigarette and a 20% tax on other tobacco products.

2002: The Missouri Tobacco Tax Act, also known as Proposition A, was on the November 5, 2002 ballot in Missouri as an initiated state statute, where it was defeated. The measure would have imposed an additional 2.75 cent tax per cigarette, or $0.55 per pack, as well as a 20% tax on other tobacco products. The measure would have placed revenue from these taxes into the Healthy Families Trust Fund to be used for hospital trauma care, emergency preparedness, health care access, prescription drug assistance for seniors, health care initiatives for low income citizens, life sciences research, smoking prevention and early childhood education.

August 2002: The Missouri Transportation Tax Act, also known as Proposition B, was on the August 6, 2002 ballot in Missouri as a legislatively-referred state statute, where it was defeated. The measure would have imposed and additional sales and use tax of one-half cent on the dollar as well as an additional motor fuel tax of four cents per gallon, for highway and transportation purposes, until July 2013. The measure also would have established an inspector general within the department of transportation.

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