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Letter: Raising gas tax and fees needed to maintain roads

Letter: Raising gas tax and fees needed to maintain roads

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'Tis the season for potholes to pop up

Q: The ramp from the Stan Musial bridge to I-70 westbound has a collapsed section on the left side (the lane everyone uses) just before reaching the interstate. It's sort of like a depressed corner shape in the middle of the lane creating a pretty big ledge you have to drive over. Any ideas when this may be addressed? It's taking a toll on everyone's suspensions. Thank you.

A: That type of a repair usually takes some time to get scheduled, since it is more than our general maintenance forces can address. I have passed it along to our team to ensure that it is on the schedule. We may have a few other higher priority pavement repairs that we have to address first -- it has been a pretty nasty year for potholes because the ground was so cold.

Q: Is there any way Hampton can be resurfaced? The right most lanes (both directions) between Watson and I-44 are in really bad shape. The bumps and potholes are so large I'm actually worried that I'll blow a tire one of these days.

A: We will be internally reviewing and discussing various roads that are in need of repaving in the next month and Hampton in that area is one of them. Hope to have more to share later!

Regarding the David Nicklaus column, “Study says Missouri must invest in its transportation infrastructure” (Nov. 1): Missouri’s roads are getting some needed attention in the Missouri Chamber of Commerce’s Transportation 2030 report. The report points out that the lack of funding for Missouri’s roads is a serious obstacle to making sure our roads are safe for drivers and conducive to economic growth.

Efforts to maintain Missouri’s roads have been hamstrung by a reluctance to invest sufficient money. Missouri’s gasoline tax was last raised (to 17 cents per gallon) in 1996. Since then, inflation has reduced the purchasing power of those 17 cents by 50%. Vehicle registration fees have not been raised since 1980. Insufficient funding makes it challenging to maintain and improve our roads, which carry of billions of dollars of freight and support thousands of jobs.

The Chamber of Commerce report suggested several ways to increase transportation funding while making sure those who use the roads are the ones who pay for their upkeep. Adjusting the gas tax to inflation could generate funds, as could bringing a 1980-level registration fee up to date. In addition, maintenance of some highways could be funded in part by tolled express lanes.

Let’s make sure we have the money we need to keep our roads in good shape, while also ensuring that those who use them pay for them.

Jakob Puckett • St. Louis

Show-Me Institute

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