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House bill could affect Pike County roadways

Posted on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 1:54 pm

A proposed constitutional amendment, which was in the Missouri Senate earlier this week, could eventually change Pike County’s roadways and bridges.

Missouri House of Representatives Joint Resolution 68 would ask the voters to approve a 1-cent transportation 10-year sales tax on this year’s general election ballot in November.

Some officials estimate the tax increase would generate $7.9 billion over the decade it was in effect.

Of the money generated by the tax, 90 percent would head to the state level, with the remaining 10 percent being allocated to cities and counties.

So why are state officials advocating the tax? Representative Jim Hansen, who supports the bill, says it has been born of necessity.

“As funding for road projects has dwindled in recent years, our state transportation department has downsized and worked to become as efficient as possible with the dollars it does receive,” Hansen explained. “Even with this approach of doing more with less, the reality is that there is still a funding gap that makes it almost impossible to both maintain existing roads and finance new transportation infrastructure projects.”

According to Hansen, Missouri’s Department of Transportation says it takes approximately $485 million each year to maintain current roads. In contrast, the department’s budget for construction is expected to be as low as $325 million by 2017.

“The numbers make it clear that something must be done to ensure our state will continue to have well-maintained roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure,” the representative said.

If it’s finalized, Hansen said he expects the bill to make the Champ Clark Bridge to be a main priority for the new funding stream.

“I also think that expanding and improving the Hwy from Mexico to the bridge will be one of the topic projects in our area,” he added. “We will see an overall benefit to our local and state infrastructure which is a vital component of what companies consider when starting or relocating businesses.”

According to the House of Representatives website, the bill was voted “Do Pass” by the Senate Monday, April 28.

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