JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A new initiative petition filed Wednesday would add a significant wrinkle into Missouri’s continuing debate over funding transportation infrastructure.
The A Better Road Forward (ABRF) PAC filed a petition to ban all future tolls on Missouri’s roads. ABRF Chairman Wayne Baker said toll roads on Missouri’s roadways would amount to “double taxation.”
“Missourians already pay a gas tax for our roads. We should not have to pay a toll tax as well,” Baker said.
The discussion surrounding how best to fund the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) to fix aging roads and bridges has been fraught with a wide variety of ideals. Sen. Doug Libla promoted legislation last year that would raise the fuel tax on roads, which has not happened since the early 1990s, and Sen. Bill Eigel has presented a new plan that would use general revenue funds to help fund MoDOT.
Other legislators have suggested toll roads on the state’s major thoroughfares like Interstates 70 and 44, but this new initiative petition would put a stop to those conversations, enshrining in the Missouri constitution that the General Assembly could not create new toll roads in the state of Missouri. While supporters of toll roads say it will bring much needed revenue to the state by charging those who drive on the roads, opponents like the ABRF believe they create unnecessary hassles for drivers and put a financial burden on residents.
Members of the ABRF executive committee also sent a letter to state lawmakers detailing what they perceive to be the pitfalls of toll roads. The full letter can be read below, but the story continues after the break.
Wendy Nordwald, the President of the Missouri Association of Counties and a member of the executive committee, said toll roads weren’t the solution to Missouri’s infrastructure problems.
“This is another old scheme to unfairly burden Missouri’s working families with a high risk and devastating impact on manufacturers and small businesses,” Nordwald said in a statement.
ABRF has also launched this website outlining their positions.