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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Supporting Prop B with reservations

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

"...I'll give the state one final try to put my money where their mouth is"

I will vote in favor of Proposition B on the upcoming August statewide ballot though my vote will not be an overwhelming vote of confidence for the Missouri Department of Transportation. I have reservations about the spending proposals that will be funded from Prop B and I have a lingering fear that the money may well not stretch as far as state officials are saying. But the alternative to Prop B is much less appealing and for that reason alone, I will cast my vote in favor.

No one - present company included - enjoys the prospect of higher taxes. I pay enough for gasoline right now and pay enough sales taxes too. But without some major funding source, I recognize that the roads of Missouri will continue a steady decline into disrepair. I also believe that the rural roads will suffer much more than the urban roads and since I travel primarily on the rural roadways of Missouri, I'm acutely interested in their future or lack thereof.

I have read all of the promises promoted by the Prop B supporters. I believe most of those promises. I do believe that Interstate 55 and Interstate 70 will benefit from the Prop B funds. And perhaps more importantly to Sikeston, I believe that Highway 60 will benefit directly from the Prop B revenues. Beyond that I can only hope and pray the state does what they are promising.

I'd like to see the Mississippi River Port in Scott City benefit more from these funds too but that is highly doubtful. And, despite what the promotions say, I would not mind at all if the Missouri Highway Patrol received more funding than promised from Prop B. But as with many issues in life, you have to take what is given and in this case, to me at least, it's worth the favorable vote to see the two pet projects for our region funded.

I would like for the Highway Commission to undergo a major transformation some day. I believe the Commission is not always receptive to the needs of outstate Missouri and I'd like to see a change in that approach. But I realize too that I am swimming upstream on this issue because the votes and the money and the power in this state start and end in St. Louis and Kansas City. That makes outstate an orphaned child too much of the time. There's little prospect that will change.

In the meantime, Prop B will get my vote. It will be less than enthusiastic and with ample reservations. But I'll give the state one final try to put my money where their mouth is. Let's hope I'm right.



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