– Show Me State voters reject tax hike to raise new road revenue –
Richmond, VA – The Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates applauds Missouri lawmakers for their hard work on crafting a public referendum to raise millions for road maintenance without resorting to economically harmful tolls that would create more problems than they solve.
That effort presented Missouri voters with a state constitutional amendment to nominally increase the state sales tax over a decade. During that time, state and local governments would have been forbidden from allowing tolls on any Missouri road.
“Missourians’ rejection of a modest tax increase tells us what we already know: voters are not eager to raise taxes on themselves, even if the increase amounts to pennies per driver. It is unfortunate that a broadly popular provision of the legislation to ban tolls was dragged down in the process,” said ATFI spokesman Julian Walker. “The public understands how harmful tolls are, including those on existing interstates. This disappointing outcome is not an endorsement of expensive tolls that burden families, businesses and local governments while also endangering public safety.”
Tolls increase travel costs for drivers hitting the road for recreation, commuting to work, or hauling commercial cargo. Those added expenses negatively alter consumer behavior and lead to higher prices at the register, taking money out of the economy and causing devastating impacts to families and businesses. Tolling existing lanes would also divert traffic onto local roads unable to accommodate that load. That added congestion would result in more accidents and accelerate road deterioration. Those conditions would lead to slowed emergency response times by police, fire, and rescue workers. Greater local traffic volume also would prematurely degrade roads, causing taxpayers to shoulder repair costs.
The Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates favors long-term solutions to pay for interstates that don’t come at the expense of commuters, families, and businesses or cause harmful economic ripple effects in their communities. The Alliance remains committed to educating the public about the ills and economic hardships of tolling existing infrastructure.
Missouri is the latest state to take steps towards a ban on tolling existing interstates. Last year, legislators in North Carolina and Virginia enacted separate laws to ban tolls on portions of Interstate 95 that traverse those states. Apart from that, all three states have slots in a federal pilot program that grants exceptions to federal restrictions on tolling existing intestates. None of the states have imposed tolls through that program.
To learn more about AFTI and join the Alliance please visit www.tollfreeinterstates.com. In addition to joining ATFI you can stay connected by following the Alliance on Twitter at @No2Tolls and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TollFreeInterstates