The state Transportation Department wants lawmakers to explore various tax options to fund what it calls a dire need for the renovation of interstates 70 and 44. Senate committee members aren’t quite sold on those ideas. But, Chief Engineer Kevin Keith says a one cent sales tax would generate enough money to cover expenses for a complete renovation that he estimates would cost 7 billion dollars over 10 years. He says a half cent sales tax could work. But he says that tax would mean the state would have to mortgage that revenue stream for 40 years. He also suggests a 27 cent fuel tax over 10 years.
Senator Matt Bartle of Lee’s Summit says none of those ideas are likely to win over the public. He says taxes fail abysmally at the polls. Bartle says before the state decides how to fund the 7 billion dollar project, he wants MODOT to explore less expensive ways to renovate I-70 and I-44.