Part four in a five part series previewing the 2014 legislative session
Will you again support a bill to find a funding mechanism for MoDOT?
At the end of last year’s session a handful of senators mounted a filibuster that prevented the passage of a joint resolution to put a transportation funding measure on the ballot and allow Missourians to vote on how they want to invest their tax dollars in transportation. I believed then, and I still believe now, that Missouri’s transportation infrastructure is at a perilous juncture.
This juncture requires a funding solution to both maintain the current system and make necessary improvements. When opponents filibustered the bipartisan resolution, which also manifested years of work by MoDOT and stakeholders from across the state, they did not change the basic fact that Missouri has 30,000 miles of roads and 10,000 bridges in our transportation system.
Recognizing that the same senators who halted and killed efforts last year are still in the senate and unlikely to change their votes, an initiative petition was filed earlier this fall. Once an adequate number of signatures have been acquired, the proposal (nearly identical to what the legislature considered last year) will go onto the November 2014 ballot for Missourians to decide.
As I travel throughout the district, I am asked daily about roads and jobs. Whether it is rebuilding I-70 or expanding the shoulder on a lettered highway, Missourians understand that transportation infrastructure is critical to our economy and to the safety of their families.
I have yet to have anyone tell me that Missouri’s transportation infrastructure does not need to be maintained and improved. Overwhelmingly, people tell me that they are willing to invest in transportation infrastructure as long as there is accountability for the money and transparency on the projects and timelines. The joint resolution I filed last year, and the initiative petition that has been filed, provide safe-guards to ensure that stakeholders and planning partners have input and that MoDOT is held accountable for projects, timelines, and the responsible use of tax dollars.
The proposed funding plan would generate approximately $8 billion over the next ten years. This will fund projects across the state and put tens of thousands of Missourians to work in good, high-paying, family-supporting jobs. I support the initiative petition and look forward to it being on the ballot for Missourians to decide how they want to invest their tax dollars in transportation.