The Columbia Chamber of Commerce endorsed the ballot measure aimed to increase funding for the state’s crumbling transportation system. The plan would raise the state gasoline tax by 2.5 cents each year for the next four years until it is fully implemented. The Proposition has been placed on the November ballot. If passed and once fully implemented, it is estimated to generate $288 million annually for the State Road Fund and $128 million annually for local transportation projects. This will cost the average driver about $5 per month.
“Roads in Mid-Missouri, specifically Interstate 70, need to be addressed before they become even more of a safety issue,” Chamber President Matt McCormick said. “Businesses set up in and around Columbia for many reasons, one being the infrastructure in place. If this infrastructure begins to deteriorate, the economy of Missouri and specifically Columbia will feel the effects.”
Missouri has one of the lowest gas taxes in the country while having the seventh largest transportation system in the country (33,856 total miles of roads). Right now, the 17 cent tax ranks 46th in the country and has not been raised since 1996. According to MoDOT, the average spent per mile in Missouri is $48,835 while the national average is $235,113. The funds will go towards the nearly 900 bridges in poor condition and improving the conditions by adding modern safety features.
Missouri is within 500 miles from 43 percent of the U.S. population, 41 percent of total U.S. buying power, 44 percent of total U.S. wholesale trade, 44 percent of all U.S. manufacturing plants and seven of the top 25 international cargo hubs in the U.S. Location without investment means very little. Less than 37 percent of Missouri business leaders are satisfied with roads and infrastructure according to a recent Gallup survey.
By supporting this ballot measure the additional revenue generated will make Columbia and Missouri more competitive in the country and will show business leaders Missourians care about their roads. This will attract businesses to relocate or set up here and know their products can get to the destinations on time.
“If our region and state want to compete on a national level for business, voting yes on Tuesday, November 6 will help achieve that,” McCormick said. “This is also a necessary investment to solve some of the issues with our roads and bridges in regard to efficiency and public safety.”
The Columbia Chamber of Commerce was established in 1905 and is a voluntary, member-supported organization of business, industrial and professional people who are dedicated to developing, promoting and maintaining a sound and healthy economic climate for Columbia. The Columbia Chamber of Commerce is recognized as a 5-Star Accredited Chamber by the United States Chamber of Commerce.