I am going to be a freshman at Canton R-5 High School. I am a member of the SMART group. SMART stands for Students of Missouri Assisting Rural and Urban Transportation. SMART was started when a student of Canton High School, Kristin Hendrickson, was killed in an accident on Highway 61, a two-lane road. SMART was organized to try to improve the roads and transportation of Missouri. SMART started a petition drive to get Highway 61 four lane, with a goal of 25,000 signatures, but exceeded that goal with 42,000 signatures. SMART presented the petitions to the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission. SMART has met with Gov. Bob Holden many times to discuss transportation issues. These are some of the things SMART has done.
SMART is now promoting Proposition B. It will be a 1/2-cent sales tax and 4-cent gas tax. Missouri has the second highest operating costs of all states, according to the TRIP Report. Proposition B will replace more than 700 bridges. It will improve the safety and the maintenance of Missouri's roads. It will also resurface 14,000 miles of roadways. If Proposition B fails to pass by voters, Missouri's roads will continue to deteriorate.
Please vote yes on Proposition B in the Aug. 6 election.
Shelley Arnsman, Canton
For over 35 years I worked in the construction industry in Missouri. About five years ago I retired. Now my wife and I travel in a motor home. This summer we've driven from Florida to New York and back, to Lake Tahoe and now through Missouri. Without a doubt, Missouri roads are the worst we've traveled on. In fact, they're downright dangerous.
Over my many years in construction, I've worked building roads and bridges in Missouri and I cannot say enough about the professionalism of the Missouri Department of Transportation. I remember when Kevin Keith, your chief engineer, was just starting his career at MoDOT. He was and is a first-class, honest person.
I know what it take to build a bridge or a road and I know Missouri needs Proposition B to pass if you want to provide safe roads, jobs and economic development. You can't have the seventh largest road system in the country and maintain and improve it when you are 43rd in expenditures.
Bill Eckhoff, Punta Gorda, Fla.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks to the Sikeston Public School District and the Sikeston community for all the support shown to the organizers and participants of the Missouri Assessment Program Distributed Electronic Hand-Scoring experience. This experience provided 24 Missouri teachers with a wonderful professional development experience.
The funding was provided by the Department of Secondary and Elementary Education and the scoring activity was coordinated by the Southeast Regional MAP office at Southeast Missouri State University. The Sikeston Career and Technology Center hosted the scoring activity and all the staff members were extremely helpful.
We especially want to thank Laura Hendley and Terry Schaefer, as well as the technology staff for all their expertise. Kathy Boldrey from the Sikeston Public Schools central office was also very helpful in planning the event and providing support and assistance to the Missouri Assessment Program staff.
Several of the participants and the DESE representatives stayed in the Sikeston community during the three-week period. They felt very welcomed by the people of Sikeston and especially enjoyed the food. Speaking of food, Rodchester's Deli, Susie's and Bo's Pit Bar-B-Q provided the catering and it was great. I also want to thank the newspaper for covering the scoring event and especially Leonna Essner for her excellent article.
You have a wonderful community and a great staff in the Sikeston Public Schools. We can't wait until next year.
Sincerely, Roblyn Hatch, Southeast MAP Regional facilitator
National studies show Missouri's transportation system is one of the worst in the nation-ranked 48th for highways and 49th for bridges.
Why? Lack of funding for the improvements of and the continued expansion of Missouri's highway system.
Frankly, we do not need national studies to tell us our highway system has crumbling roads and bad bridges. We see and drive on them daily.
Our roads need to be fixed and our bridges repaired. On Aug. 6 we will have the opportunity to approve funding necessary to start the process.
The additional funding from the passage of Proposition B will result in approximately 500 miles of new or the equivalent to new construction - including 372 miles of new four-lane projects across the state.
Proposition B would also allow for 700 bridges to be repaired, replaced, some 14,000 miles of roads to be resurfaced and all 1,179 miles of interstate to be put in good condition.
No one wants higher taxes, but we all know that we need better roads and an improved transportation system.
Why? A good highway and transportation system is essential in its contribution to safety, convenience and economic well being for Missourians.
Proposition B will assist in bringing this transportation system up to an acceptable condition.
I am grateful to the General Assembly for providing this window of opportunity for the citizens of Missouri to vote on this proposal.
When we approve Proposition B, the four-cent per gallon increase in motor fuel tax and the half-cent increase in general sales tax will expire June 30, 2013.
I do believe the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) and the Highway and Transportation Commission have put in place a fair and equitable transportation plan.
I would encourage the voters of Missouri to vote "yes" for Proposition B.
Sincerely, Duane Michie, commissioner Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission