Transportation sales tax comment period expanded

Ethan Colbert/News Tribune

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Missourians will now have an additional 13 days to review and voice any concerns about the list of projects that has been prioritized by state Transportation officials for the upcoming Aug. 5 ballot.

Voters will decide the fate of a ballot measure that would temporarily raise Missouri’s sales tax by ¾ of a cent for 10 years. Revenues from the sales tax increase would fund transportation improvements across the state.

MoDOT officials will announce the prioritized project list Friday at noon.

At the urging of the Missouri Highways and Transportation commissioners, the public comment forum will open Friday and rin through July 3. Originally, a mere seven days was planned for gathering public comments and concerns.

During a Wednesday conference call meeting involving four commissioners andvarious MoDOT departments heads, Commission Vice Chairman Joe Carmichael, Springfield, said the extra time was necessary for all Missourians to have a voice in the process. He believed the original weeklong time frame was inadequate.

“We have to ensure they have enough time to comment,” Carmichael said. “This extra time ensures that their wants and their needs are heard.”

MoDOT Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger said he believed Missourians and MoDOT officials would see this change as a positive step.

“This is going to be very positively received by our stakeholders, regional partners and MoDOT officials,” Hassinger said.

The commission will hold its regular June 25 meeting for updates regarding the public’s response and to review the list of projects.

Commissioners expect to finalize the projects list at a July 9 meeting in Jefferson City. The bill lawmakers passed placing the proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot required MoDOT to approve and publicize specific projects to accompany the ballot measure.