Assessment of Amendment 7 transportation sales tax

Amendment 7 is a proposed 0.75% transportation sales tax which would last for 10 years. Missouri voters will vote on the Amendment on August 5.

Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is accepting public comment on its Draft Project List through Thursday, July 3. The list identifies the transportation infrastructure projects which would be funded by the sales tax if it is approved.

What we’d like you to do:

Regardless of your position on Amendment 7, we urge you to submit your comments to MoDOT on the project list by completing the Feedback Form (bottom of the page) by Thursday, July 3. If the Amendment does pass, these projects will have a large impact on the options Missourians have for transportation over the next 10 years.

The basics

Facts about the Amendment 7 (from MoDOT)

  • Will provide an estimated $5.4 billion in funding for transportation projects over 10 years (2015-2025)
  • The measure provides that 90 percent of the revenue, an estimated $480 million annually, will go toward state transportation initiatives. Ten percent, or an estimated $54 million annually, will be split among cities and counties for transportation projects.
  • The sales tax increase will not be applied to purchases of medicine, groceries and gasoline.
  • Fuel taxes will not increase and toll roads will not be implemented over the 10-year time period.
  • The sales tax revenues can be used for ANY transportation purpose (road and bridge improvements, urban and rural transit, friendlier bike and pedestrian accommodations, improvements in rail, ports and airports).
  • Every region will prioritize the projects to meet the direct transportation needs of residents and businesses in their communities.
  • The regional project priority lists will be completed in June. A statewide list will be presented to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission for its approval at a meeting in Jefferson City on July 9.

What does Amendment 7 mean for active transportation?

Currently the bulk of MoDOT’s state funding comes from the gas tax. The gas tax is constitutionally restricted from being spent on any transportation projects other than roads and bridges.

This means that MoDOT cannot spend gas tax funds on biking, walking or public transportation infrastructure.

If Amendment 7 passes

If Amendment 7 passes, for the first time state transportation funding would be allowed to be used for all forms of transportation, including biking, walking and transit. The Amendment does not require that the funds be used for these types of projects, but gives MoDOT, cities and counties the flexibility to spend the funds on any form of transportation, depending on the needs of the community.

How does the Draft Project List look for the Columbia area?

The Draft Project List includes major improvements for public transit in Central Missouri, including:

  • Improve public transportation in Columbia by adding two service hours daily
  • Expand public transportation services by one day per week in each county (statewide)
  • Provide funding to OATS for new service between Columbia and Jefferson City
  • Improve JEFFTRAN public transportation by adding four service hours daily in Jefferson City

However, the Draft Project List includes only one project for non-motorized transportation in Boone County:

  • Construct a sidewalk along Vandiver Dr from Providence Road to Westfall Dr in Columbia

This area already has a sidewalk on one side of the road. Of all the non-motorized project needs in Boone County, we would not consider this project the highest priority. In fact, CATSO lists seven other non-motorized projects as higher priorities.

Concerns with the Draft Project List overall

  • We asked MoDOT why the Vandiver sidewalk project was chosen over the other non-motorized projects that were submitted. We were told that after the high dollar priority projects for the Central region were chosen, there was enough funding remaining for Vandiver sidewalk, but not the other non-motorized project options. This implies that the non-motorized projects were not considered to have equal weight to the motorized projects when the higher cost projects were chosen.
  • MoDOT has not released the projected cost for the individual projects. Therefore, we don’t know how much of the total sales tax funds would be used on roads and bridges vs. multi-modal transportation. MoDOT identified improving multi-modal transportation as one of four goals of its recent Long-Range Transportation Plan; however, without knowing the project budgets we are not able to assess if MoDOT is emphasizing multi-modal transportation in the selection of projects that would be funded by the sales tax.

Again, we urge you to submit your comments on the Draft Project List to MoDOT by Thursday, July 3.