The Missouri Transportation Commission has taken the first step toward potential success for Proposition B on the August primary ballot. Prop B would raise the state fuel tax by four cents and up the state sales tax by a half cent. The nearly $500 million annually those two taxes would generate will go toward improving transportation needs in the state.
Everyone has agreed that without a specific plan, Prop B stood little chance of passage. I'm far from convinced that it will pass regardless of the promises by state transportation officials. But at least the plan puts specific road projects on the list of promised improvements from the new taxes.
Like all others in the state, we'd hope that Southeast Missouri would receive more funds from the new taxes. But residents across the state are surely saying the very same thing. If you don't travel in Northeast Missouri, for example, you have limited concerns over their highway needs. It just works out that way.
We're glad to see continued improvements and expansion of Highway 60 made it into the final funding plan. We're also glad to see that improvements to Interstate 55 would be part of the funding package.
The real question which remains is whether or not voters will forget the broken promises made in the past to improve roadways if new taxes were implemented. We all remember the lingering question on why these projects were abandoned after voters approved taxes back then. But those questions will remain unanswered and perhaps that's best.
For now we commend the highway officials for putting specific projects on the board for completion if the taxes gain approval. We are more receptive to fund something that will directly benefit our region than some unnamed mystery project that will benefit only the urban areas.
But regardless of the specifics, the highway officials still have some selling to do or come Aug. 6, we'll all be in a pickle together. The real question is what happens if the taxes plans are rejected? No one has addressed that question. We hope someone does in the next five weeks.
Time, as always, is running out.