Amendment 7 Defeated
Yesterday, Missouri voters rejected Amendment 7, the proposed statewide transportation sales tax (59 percent to 41 percent). Using a sales tax to pay for highways and bridges is bad policy, and the state of Missouri is better off having rejected this unfair, economically unsound proposal.
However, this defeat of Amendment 7 is just the start of creating a sustainable funding source for the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). In the very near future, the department may not have enough funds to maintain the existing state highway system. A deteriorating highway system would be damaging for both residents and the state economy. It is time for policymakers and opinion leaders in the state to convince Missourians not just about the amount of money MoDOT needs, but also about the proper and most efficient way of raising revenue for those needs: user fees. Whether that means raising the gas tax or implementing tolling, the basis of good policy is an informed, not a frightened, electorate.
While these future challenges remain, yesterday was a defeat for poll-driven policy and a victory for Missouri.