MoDOT sets public meeting on local priorities

MoDOT will have an open house meeting next week in Jefferson City to allow residents to take a look at the local priorities and share their thoughts and insights on a proposed statewide transportation sales tax.

No formal presentations will be made at the meeting, which will be held June 19 from 4-7 p.m. at the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 428 E. Capitol Ave.

On Aug. 5, voters will decide on Constitutional Amendment 7, a ballot measure that transportation officials say would temporarily raise Missouri's sales tax by ¾ of a cent, to pay for transportation improvements across the state.

The amendment's provisions include the creation of a project list prior to the election so Missourians can see what their tax dollars would fund. That improvement list, and an online comment form, will be available to the public starting at noon Friday, at www.modot.org/movingforward.

At Wednesday's Cole County Commission meeting, MoDOT Central District Engineer Dave Silvester told commissioners the project list is based on earlier comments they received from the public, saying they wanted MoDOT to take care of what they had already, increase safety and do projects that provide economic development.

Silvester said, while he didn't have all the projects in this district that would be on the list, he believes shoulder work on Route B from Meta to Wardsville would be on the list, along with a making I-70 three lanes between Blue Springs, just east of Kansas City, and Wentzville, just west of St. Louis.

"We're looking at 10-15 percent of the projects dealing with maintenance, and the rest are either new or expansion projects," Silvester said.

Western District Commissioner Kris Scheperle said: "I'm not in favor of raising taxes, but I think this is needed and I will support it.

"I do think you need to keep in mind the upkeep it will take when we build these new projects."