After a referendum failure in Missouri, the Dexter, Missouri Daily Statesman notes the voter rejection excludes the Missouri Department of Transportation from necessary funds which are required in order to build new roads and perform road repair work.
Many states have relied upon the gas tax for road funding. Missouri is no different.
One has to wonder why we use funds to build stadiums in all our communities at public expense and yet cannot have a darn road. Ahh, the benefits of having a professional basketball, football or baseball team far outweighs the need for the roads to be in decent enough repair that our cars do not get destroyed by just driving at the posted speed limit. Maybe this is a cynical attitude, but we have to wonder how and why governments spend the money they do have, all the while knowing that voters do not want to increase their taxes!
“More planned undertakings elsewhere in district, including widening major routes such as U.S. 67 south of Poplar Bluff and U.S. 412 in the Bootheel, also won’t be possible.
All of those projects were on a list developed for funding through Amendment 7, a ballot measure for transportation funding rejected by voters in August. The measure would have raised hundreds of millions of dollars each year for transportation by raising fuel taxes.
MoDOT instead has announced the agency will have only $325 million available for its highways and bridges construction program in 2017 — far less than the annual amount it takes to even maintain the state’s 35,000-mile transportation system. MoDOT also reports it won’t be able to match federal highway funds, meaning those funds will go to other states, said Matt Seiler, an assistant district engineer for MoDOT based in Sikeston, Mo.
The agency gets as much as 70 percent of its funding from state fuel taxes, but inflation has taken a toll on how much buying power MoDOT has during a more than 20-year period the tax has remained the same, Seiler said.
The “325 Plan” of the agency for maintenance calls for primary routes — about 8,000 miles of roads — to be maintained by today’s standards. The remaining 26,000 miles of roads will “receive limited, routing maintenance,” a recent agency newsletter stated.
“For those, all we can do is take care of them with a dumptruck and a shovel,” Seiler said. “People, I don’t think, will realize that’s a problem until they start to fall apart.”