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Proposed 1-Cent Sales Tax For Transportation Needs Filed In Mo. Senate

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation has been filed in the Missouri Senatethat would create a temporary sales tax dedicated to funding transportation needs statewide.

The proposed constitutional amendment would create a one-cent sales tax that would expire after 10 years.  It’s co-sponsored by State Senator Mike Kehoe (R, Jefferson City).  He says the one-penny tax would not be levied on groceries, prescription medicine or fuel.

“As a legislative body, we’ll not raise the gas tax, we’ll not toll existing roads," Kehoe said.  "MoDOT’s done their part – they’ve tightened their belt to make sure the department is running as efficiently as it possibly can, and now I think it’s our turn.”

Most of the money raised would go to state needs, but 10 percent would go to cities and counties for local transportation needs.  Supporters also say it would create around 270,000 jobs.  The other co-sponsor is State Senator Ryan McKenna (D, Crystal City).  He says there are three highways in his district that bear the nicknames “Blood Alley” and “Death Valley” – State Highway 21 and lettered routes MM and W.

“A friend of mine, Chris Foley, that lived down the road from me, was killed on Highway MM about 10 (or) 12 years ago," McKenna said.  "That’s when I started really trying to get involved with Highway MM and W, to try to get safety improvements along that stretch of road.”

The proposal is the same one touted last month by Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission Chairman Rudy Farber.  If passed by lawmakers, the proposal would go before Missouri voters in November of 2014. 

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.