Transportation Director Pete Rahn issues a warning that he has issued before – that Missouri needs additional revenues in order to avoid transportation problems down the road.
Rahn talks about what he calls a "perfect storm" in which three negative factors come together to cause investment in roads and bridges to "fall off a cliff beginning in 2010." He says this perfect storm is caused by lower state revenues, the higher cost of accomplishing goals with the money that is available, and fewer federal dollars from Washington.
Rahn says we could drop from a construction program totaling $1.23-Billion in 2008 to an annual program of $569-Million in 2010. And, he says over the next 20 years transportation officials project a need for more than $37-Billion to meet Missouri’s most critical transportation needs. He says there will not be enough money to sufficiently maintain Missouri’s highways, much less address congestion, safety, and economic development concerns.
Rahn told a meeting of the Missouri Joint Transportation Committee, in Jefferson City, that several options exist for raising those much-needed revenues, and that Missouri voters would have to approve any revenue generating plan. One of those proposals for generating revenues is to raise taxes – a proposal that could run into some stiff opposition.