JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Elected officials and local leaders throughout Missouri are making a final push in support of increasing revenue intake for roads and bridges with just days until voters hit the polls.
At a Thursday morning press conference, the Missouri Local Leaders Partnership — which includes the Missouri School Boards Association, the Missouri Association of Counties, and the Missouri Municipal League — came together with Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and SaferMO.com Communication Director Scott Charton to advocate for the passage of Proposition D.
The organizations supporting the measure are not normally aligned on issues, Kehoe pointed out. He noted that unions and the Chamber of Commerce are rarely on the same side of an issue.
Partnerships like the ones with MML, the counties, and the school board association, tell officials they are in a good direction, according to Kehoe.
“School safety is of the utmost importance for public schools. And that starts with getting our kids to school safely,” said Melissa Randol, Executive Director of the Missouri School Boards Association. “In Missouri, every year we transport 918,000 kids on Missouri’s roads to our schools…we drive 29 million miles transporting kids on school buses every year…[parents] need to be assured that those roads and those bridges we are driving over transporting our most precious asset as a state are safe.”
The School Board Association voted unanimously to support Proposition D. During a delegate assembly, where representatives from every school district across the state that are members of the association looked at the issue and voted on a resolution.
Dick Burke, Executive Director of the Missouri Association of Counties, noted that the counties had long been in support of the ballot question. The board of directors unanimously voted to endorse Proposition D in August.
“As Lieutenant Gov. Kehoe said, the state has the seventh largest state highway system in the country…What you may not know, is that county government in Missouri is responsible for the one of the largest off system road and bridge networks on the country,” said Burke.
He pointed out that this funding mechanism will benefit every single county in Missouri — both urban and rural portions of the state.
The referendum, sent to the voters by the General Assembly, would gradually increase the state’s motor fuel from 17 cents to 27 cents over four years. Missouri has the countries seventh largest transportation infrastructure system and is the second lowest in terms of funding.
“Inflation has eaten away over 22 years at the static, frozen 17 cents a gallon,” said Charton. “Because of inflation that 17 cents are worth about 7 cents in purchasing power, so it has lost about 60 percent of its purchasing power. We need to do better, we got to do better for Missouri’s economy.”
Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at firstname.lastname@example.org.