The state House is preparing to study two issues its speaker wants more answers on.
House Speaker John Diehl, Junior (R-Town and Country), has said the governor hasn’t offered a plan to fund transportation, and says too many questions remain about the current and any future NFL stadiums in St. Louis. So, he’s going to have those issues examined by House committees.
On the transportation issue, Diehl said, he wants two of his committees to jointly study, “what [the Transportation Department] knows now, what MODOT’s plans are, what they have that they haven’t shared with us yet, and to get all the facts on the table.”
Diehl has been critical of Governor Jay Nixon (D) for in his State of the State Address saying there should be discussions about toll roads on I-70 and an increase in the gas tax as ways to pay for transportation, accusing him of stating the obvious but not laying out a plan.
Diehl says one of the things that must happen before a new funding plan is pursued is that the Transportation Department’s use of its current resources must be assessed.
“The first step has to be, “Are we spending our money now the right way, is the Department being as efficient as it possibly can be?'” Diehl told reporters.
Diehl has also instructed one of his committees to explore the benefit to the state of an NFL team in St. Louis, the state’s obligations with the existing dome, and, “an analysis of the money the state has paid out and the benefit the state has received over the past 20 years,” to see if the current NFL stadium and team’s presence in St. Louis has been a “good deal” for the state.”
Diehl said of the stadium issue, “We’ve heard nothing and everything I’ve seen reported has been hypotheticals, speculation, without really any analysis about what this means to the state treasury.”
Diehl has requested a report on transportation funding in the next month and on the stadium in about two weeks.
A third effort announced Tuesday will bring business owners and the state’s higher education institutions together to coordinate curriculum and hiring needs and make recommendations to the legislature.