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Lawmaker wants tax increase for improved I-70

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – A $4 billion transportation package hit the floor of the Missouri House Thursday, the bulk of which would be used to upgrade Interstate 70 across the state.

Of the total, $3.6 billion would be spent on expanding I-70 into an 8-lane highway, with 4 separate lanes for trucks only.

The sponsor, Republican Representative Neal St. Onge of Ellisville, does not expect to get the resolution passed this year.

"I do expect, and I believe my Senate counterpart, expects that we will put, or we will try & put something on the ballot in August of '08," St. Onge said Thursday. "That's why I want to get it out, and get start, discussing it right now."

The legislation would also provide $49 million for public transportation and $42 million to upgrade ports in Missouri.

"Already some of my colleagues have said 'You know, you can't have tax increases,'" St. Onge added, when asked about the way money would be raise. "But, I don't look at it as a tax increase, I look at it as an investment."

"We're putting it before the people. This will not be done in the House or the Senate; it will go before the people for a vote."