Missouri's growing economy needs a growing transportation system, as well, Gov. Mike Parson said Monday.
Parson said he hopes Missouri voters will consider supporting Proposition D on next month's general election ballot — the proposal to increase Missouri's fuels tax by 10 cents-a-gallon, phased in over a four-year period.
And on Monday, he launched a multi-day tour of various Missouri communities to explain the proposal and Missouri's needs for it.
"I think people should have the knowledge of it (and) here's what it will do, and this is how it's going to affect us," Parson said. "I think it's important for me to say that.
"When you look at Missouri, and we haven't done anything for our transportation system for over 20 years, and we've added 6,000 miles of new highways since that time, you just 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."
If voters approve the tax increase, the additional money raised would be dedicated to pay for the Highway Patrol's work enforcing traffic laws. That shift in funding would free-up money to improvements to the existing highways and bridges.
And some of the money could be used to help Missouri get more federal money for those road and bridge projects, Parson said.
"We've got to figure out solutions," he said. "I think you have to look at the bigger picture on Proposition D, and what it means for the state as a whole.
"If we've got a bridge that's unsafe and its going to have to be replaced, then we're going to have to figure out a solution."
Improving the transportation system helps improve the state's economy, Parson said — including agriculture businesses.
"You think of all the products in this state — and (agriculture is) the number one industry, whether it be beef, pork or row crops — of all the transportation that's involved in that, it's a huge deal," Parson told reporters after he met with Missouri Pork Producers Association leaders at the state Agriculture Department building, 1616 Missouri Blvd.
He noted, as a lawmaker, he helped pass bills to "change the weight limits on a lot of the ag products, just to be able to get more products up and down the road."