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Tax opponents say Amendment 7 would be bad for economy, environment

By Mike Landis, mlandis@ky3.com
Robin Foster, ryancey@schurz.com
Published On: Jul 11 2014 10:21:38 PM CDT

Opponents say the sales tax initiative is the wrong road to take.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -

It’s a five-billion dollar promise of more roads and better roads.  Come August, voters will decide on Amendment Seven, and whether it’s worth raising the Missouri sales tax by three-quarters of a cent.

The initiative includes a long list of proposed road and bridge projects which MoDOT says are much-needed.

“It really is important to make some good improvements to the area and all across the state,” stated Becky Baltz, MoDOT District Engineer, during a recent interview with KY3.

But, not everyone thinks it’s the best route.  A conglomerate of organizations and individuals, calling itself Missourians for Better Transportation Solutions, is leading the voice of opposition.  The Sierra Club is a part of this group.

“I guess Sierra Club is thinking, why not gas tax?  Why not toll roads,” asked Kathy Primm, a Springfield resident and member of the Sierra Club.

Sierra Club members say voters are being taken for ride.

“More highways mean more cars, it means dirtier air,” stated Primm.  “More highways mean cities are more encouraged to sprawl out. And I guess Sierra club feels that the world is crowded enough,

The club believes there isn’t enough money allocated for projects benefiting people who would prefer to leave their car at home. 

“We are pretty high on public transit. More bike paths, more ability for people to get places without a car,” Primm stated.

In recent years, MoDOT collected input in many communities regarding what those citizens would like to see in the future of Missouri transportation.  One popular suggestion has been to expand passenger train services. But, if Amendment 7 passes, most of the money would go toward roadways.  Very little of the money, overall, is allocated to passenger rail and mass transit upgrades and expansions.

“I took a train up to Boston.  There we a thousand people on the train.  And instead of, you know, 500 cars, there was one train. And it is just a more efficient use of our energy and our resources.”

The issue will appear on the August 5th election day ballot.