On Wednesday, the Missouri House approved legislation that will allow voters to consider a ballot initiative to impose a sales tax of three-fourths-cent for transportation improvement projects throughout the state.
If approved in November 2014, the sales tax increase would take effect in 2015. Over a ten-year period it is expected to yield $534 million per year. This would mark the first time that the state’s roads and bridges have been funded with something other than a user fee such as motor fuel tax, registration fees or a tax on vehicle sales. Without this sales tax, officials at the Missouri Department of Transportation expect that the budget will drop to $325 million by 2017, well below what is needed to maintain and improve state roads and bridges.
The measure originally passed through the House with a one -cent sales tax, but was amended in the Senate last month to the current three-fourths-cent sales tax. If passed ninety percent of the money would go towards state transportation initiatives and ten percent would be split among cities and counties for transportation projects. This amendment also bars the state from raising the fuel tax or operating toll roads during its duration.