Task force considers state transportation recommendations
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Chamber of Commerce hosted the ninth and final public hearing by the 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force Wednesday. The task force heard the concerns of the public regarding state transportation, funding, safety and infrastructure.
The task force will take the recommendations from the meeting and draft a formal list of recommendations for the legislature on how it will begin to address the state's transportation needs.
The task force considered recommendations from the following organizations: the American Society of Civil Engineers, TRIP, MoDOT, the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Boone County Commissioner Dan Atwill said he is "desperate for funding to improve and maintain I-70."
Rep. Kevin Corlew, R-Kansas City, who chairs the task force, said, in order to address recommendations like Atwill's, the state's transportation funding issues must be resolved.
"I think, in the short-term, we need to begin to address a significant funding issue that we've got. We've got about $825 million of unfunded priorities here in Missouri," Corlew said. "So we need to be able to address that. It's going to take some time, and we're also going to have to take a look at longer sustainable funding."
Corlew said the task force will follow a three-part roadmap for improving the state's transportation needs: investment, long-term sustainable revenue and legislation to improve the safety of the roads.
Recommendations from the meeting included maintenance to I-70, possible implementation of a tollway along I-70, and a 10 cent motor fuel tax, which he said could generate up to $400 million in ten years.
"It would be a three to four billion dollar investment," he said. "At the same time, it would cost me, as a Missouri driver, only about five dollars per month to be able to give an investment into the state to be able to improve our roads and bridges."
The task force will hold an internal meeting next Tuesday to prepare drafted reports for the General Assembly in January.