Members of the Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee have expressed their support for a 1-cent statewide sales tax to finance needed transportation improvements in Missouri.

The committee at its meeting Monday endorsed the plan and also recommended that the city council officially support the measure.

Last week, Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission Chairman Rudy Farber held a news conference with some legislators in Jefferson City and endorsed the sales tax with a 10-year sunset provision. The proposed tax, which would have to be approved by voters, would generate an estimated $7.9 billion over the next 10 years.

Two state representatives from Franklin County, Dave Hinson and Mike Schatz, were at the news conference and voiced support for the measure.

Hinson plans to file a bill in the House to authorize placing the measure on the ballot. State Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, will introduce the proposal in the Senate.

Judy Wagner, MoDOT area engineer, said Monday that proponents of the Missouri On The Move initiative are holding meetings around the state to listen to Missourians and develop a list of transportation needs.

One such project could be widening of Highway 47 in Franklin County which is considered among the top priorities in this area, Wagner said.

“This is a good time for the county to put its needs out there,” she remarked.

“We should support this,” said L.B. Eckelkamp, committee member. “It’s the only practical way to get things done.”

Several people at the meeting remarked that increasing fuel taxes would not generate the revenue necessary to address all the needs.

After last week’s press conference, Schatz, who chairs the House Transportation Committee, said MoDOT lacks the money to maintain state roadways, let alone build new projects. Both Schatz and Hinson said approval of the tax would boost economic development in the state as well.

Under the preliminary proposal, approximately $400 million would be allocated to counties and cities over the 10 years.

Schatz told The Missourian last week that if a special election is not called, the measure likely would be submitted to voters at the November 2014 election.

Both Schatz and Hinson were optimistic the measure would be approved by the Legislature. For more information, go to

WCG Mo on the Move

01-30-13 -- ed