JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The momentum appears to be growing in the campaign for Amendment 7, which seeks to create a ¾ of 1 cent sales tax to fund transportation improvements over 10 years. Yesterday, the Missouri State Troopers’ Association released their endorsement of the Aug. 5 measure, as well as a Cole County circuit judge rejecting challenges to the ballot language – 35 days before the public will go to the polls on the issue.
“Our association wholeheartedly endorses Amendment 7 because fixing our roads bridges and highways will save lives and improve public safety across Missouri,” Troopers’ Association Executive Director Ken Sears said.
The reason for the endorsement lies within the concern for transportation safety throughout the state. The association’s release contended that the measure was direly needed because of the lack of shoulders on 20,000 miles of roads, as well as 2/3 of roadways being rated fair or poor and 2,000 of the state’s bridges being structurally deficient. Transportation advocates have long leaned on safety to emphasize the importance of road improvements.
“Far too often, our troopers witness the terrible consequences of roadway accidents and the impact they have on Missouri families,” Sears said. “Upgrading our roads and bridges through Amendment 7 is critical to the safety of Missourians across the state.”
Ninety percent of raised revenue would fund priority transportation statewide, while the remaining 10 percent would be split equally between counties and cities for local transportation projects over the next 10 years. Funds cannot be diverted by current or future politicians to non-transportation spending because Amendment 7 is a constitutional amendment.
Opponents to the measure are an unusual coalition of urban Democrats and the most conservative core of Republicans. Democrats opposed say the measure will unfairly burden middle and lower middle class families while Republicans say the measure is nothing more than a massive tax hike.
The campaign committee, Missourians for Safe Transportation and New Jobs, has raised over $1.6 million since January in contributions over $5,000 since January, $1.28 million of that has been donated since the end of May. Committee treasurer and co-chair Bill McKenna was featured in the release.
“This is a tremendous undertaking, and we thank the Missouri State Troopers Association for its support of this life-saving initiative,” McKenna said. “Passing Amendment 7 on Aug. 5 will fix thousands of miles of roads and hundreds of bridges that are unsafe and in need of immediate actions.”