Representative Neal St. Onge of Ellisville is pushing Missouri to get on the horn about improving state transportation. St. Onge says he wants to generate more than 4 billion dollars to fund major improvements to state transportation. The biggest improvement would be the $3.6 billion reconstruction of interstate 70 complete with separate truck-only lanes. He says he also wants $42 million to upgrade the state’s ports, $49 million to upgrade public transportation and $584 million for statwide transportation improvements and he says various taxes, such as increased licensing fees, increased gas taxes and a half cent sales tax, are the best way to come up with that kind of cash.
St. Onge says these taxes would sunset in six years. He says he looks at these fees more as an investment than as taxes -an investment in the state’s economy. St. Onge says the federal government has made it clear that federal funding won’t be available for transportation improvements and that’s why the state needs to come up with its own plan. The representative adds that he expects his proposal won’t be debated this legislative session, but he says it should be a key legislative issue in 2008. He says ultimately, the proposal should go to a vote with the people.