On Tuesday, Missouri voters have a real opportunity to begin fixing our dangerous crumbling infrastructure. Prop D will infuse hundreds of millions of dollars into our state road fund and help cities and counties address their backlog of deferred maintenance on roads and bridges.
Prop D will raise the gas tax by just a dime, the first gas tax increase in 22 years. Our current gas tax is 17 cents but only has the purchasing power of seven cents, due to inflation.
But what will Missourians, and specifically Independence voters, get for that dime? The ability to repair and maintain our most critical roads and bridges.
Missouri has the seventh largest road system in the country, yet we rank 49th in funding to maintain it. We will be able to repair the 2,000 bridges in the state that are rated poor or have weight restrictions. And we can make major safety improvement on our roads such as guard rails, rumble strips and highway dividers with a “yes” vote on Prop D.
Prop D funds are constitutionally designated and regularly audited so the legislature cannot use the funds for other purposes. The money can only be used to make our roads and bridges safer.
But perhaps the best reason to vote “yes” on Prop D is what it will mean for Independence. When fully implemented, Independence can expect over $1.8 million in new money, every year, to spend on our local roads and bridges. Our bi-annual Citizen Survey consistently ranks maintenance of streets as one of the top three priorities. Revenues from Prop D will supplement the voter approved local streets sales tax and allow us to do more regular maintenance and construction of infrastructure where it is needed.
Prop D is a good investment for Independence voters. The cost to the average Missouri motorist is only $1.25 per month initially, and only $5 per month after four years. In return, the improvements to our roads and bridges will help grow the economy, reduce vehicle maintenance costs and result in a billion dollars in federal matching funds for our roads and bridges.
As mayor, I am proud to support Prop D and I hope you will join me in voting “yes” on Nov. 6.
– Eileen Weir is the mayor of Independence.