OCT. 19 – Governor Mike Parson wrapped up a 14-city Infrastructure Week tour promoting Proposition D for Safer Roads and Safer Streets by urging voters to “do the right thing” and vote YES On D on Nov. 6 to provide new resources to fix roads and bridges.
“I think this is the right thing to do,” Governor Parson told a St. Joseph rally supporting Prop D. He declared at West Plains: “As the governor of the State of Missouri, you have to make tough decisions and what’s truly in the best interest of the State of Missouri and that’s why I’m here today.”
Prop D would provide a historic 66 percent increase in state funding going directly to cities and counties across Missouri – and that will create jobs and it will have vast positive economic impact, Governor Parson said during every tour stop.
In its first decade, Prop D would pay for about 46,000 lane miles of highway pavement and repair more than 2,000 bridges that are in poor condition or have weight restrictions.
“You have to have infrastructure in place to draw new businesses,” Governor Parson told a Prop D rally in North Kansas City. “You have to have infrastructure in place for people to want to retire here and to move here,” he said.
Along with West Plains and St. Joseph, the governor visited St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, Jefferson City, Columbia, Poplar Bluff, Springfield, Joplin, North Kansas City, Blue Springs, Sedalia, Rolla and Hannibal.
Governor Parson urged voter approval of Prop D, which would gradually phase in a constitutionally designated, regularly audited annual 2.5 cents per gallon motor fuels user tax increase over four years. Each 2.5 cents would cost the average motorist about $1.25 a month – about the price of a cup of coffee.
Missouri’s state motor fuels user tax was last set at 17 cents per gallon for both gas and diesel in 1996. Governor Parson noted that 22 years of inflation make the 17 cents worth just 7 cents. That represents a 60 percent loss of purchasing power, even as costs for road and bridge materials such as concrete, steel and asphalt doubled and tripled over the same 22-year period.
“I think after 20 years we really have to face the reality,” Governor Parson said in Jefferson City as his Prop D tour began. “We have some problems out there and we need to get them fixed.”
Missouri’s motor fuels user tax is the 49th lowest in America, but the state has the nation’s 7th-largest state highway system, more than 34,000 center-line miles. “We don’t run a business that way,” Governor Parson told Prop D backers in Columbia.
And in Joplin, he reminded his audience: “It’s our obligation as leaders in this state to really focus on what’s best for the state of Missouri. And when you talk about our transportation system, that is our responsibility as government.”
Missouri cannot wait to provide better funding to fix roads and bridges, the governor added during his Prop D stop in the capital city. “You can’t keep kicking that can down the road and expect it to get better…it’s important for me to go out and make sure the people of Missouri know what we’re facing and know what those issues are — and then let them decide at the ballot box what they want.”
Governor Parson said a major selling point of Prop D is that an estimated 25 percent to 30 percent of the tax will be paid by drivers from out-of-state traveling on Missouri highways.
Friday morning’s St. Louis event was a rally attended by hundreds of labor union members from across the region. In Sedalia on Friday afternoon, Governor Parson was joined by Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe for a community rally supporting Prop D.
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson welcomed Governor Parson to St. Louis, noting that Prop D has support across the political spectrum: “It’s not often that all of us are together on one issue.” SaferMO.com is a statewide coalition that has grown to more than 70 member organizations, from governmental and business associations to labor and agricultural groups.
Jeff Glenn, executive director of the Mercury Alliance, a statewide organization focused on long-term transportation needs, commended Governor Parson for pushing a solution to Missouri’s critical road and bridge funding situation.
“Proposition D is an opportunity to address the state’s infrastructure needs,” Glenn said of Governor Parson’s leadership on Prop D. “He has been laser-focused on infrastructure and work force development.”
Learn more about Proposition D by visiting SaferMO.com