Another year is winding down without a solution being put before the public to Missouri’s road-funding problem. Discussions have been going on for several years—the financial boost for increased road and bridge-building approved by voters five years ago is about to end, leaving the transportation department with enough money to maintain but not improve roads and bridges.
Funding was a non-issue in this year’s legislative session but Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Stouffer of Napton says plenty was going on away from the Capitol. Lawmakers and the transportation department have held a number of meetings to explain the situation to the public and to ask what projects the public would support.
He knows firsthand that information at those meetings can change minds. He recalls one meeting he attended when only one person raised his hand when asked if he’d support increased transportation funding. But after the presentation, he says, 65-75% of the audience indicated support.
Stouffer says construction interests and the transportation department will be compiling a list of projects they hope will convince voters to support some kind of funding increase for the various kinds of transportation Missourians use.