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Mo. lawmakers discuss MoDOT revenue; tolls a possible option

Photo Credit: From modot.mo.gov

Would you be willing to pay money to drive into Missouri from Illinois?

That's exactly what Missouri lawmakers are now considering for bridges in St. Louis and Kansas City.

Northeast Missouri State Representative Craig Redmon is one of the lawmakers brainstorming ways to increase transportation revenue in the Show-Me State.

"One of the reasons we have a problem is we're like fourth in the nation in number of highways that we try to service and we're 47th in revenues collected to service those roads so the numbers just don't add up," said Redmon.

Redmon says something needs to be done so that revenue isn't taken from education or social services.

"The last time I believe we had a tax increase on our gasoline was in 1992 so that increase in today's dollars only amounts to a few cents on the dollar compared to how construction costs have gone up and labor and everything else," said Redmon.

Lawmakers are also considering adding toll roads in metropolitan areas such as Kansas City and St. Louis—an idea that has mixed opinions.

"I drive a semi and I don't really like toll roads. I think toll roads are kind of a hazard," said Brent Davis of Payson, Il.

Ginny Neves grew up in Pennsylvania and is used to paying tolls.

"Toll roads are not fun at all. They're expensive. They're a hassle. They slow you down," said Neves who now resides in Canton, Mo.

Cindy Ackerman is from Chandlerville, Il. and would rather pay a little extra for gas.

"I don't think the toll roads would be a good solution, I think an overall tax on gasoline would be better because I think the tolls is only going to hit the semi drivers which is going to make grocery prices and anything else you buy really elevate high so if you do it with gas taxes it's not going to be near as big of a tax and it'll affect everybody and not just the semi drivers," Ackerman said.

While Doug Neves would rather have toll booths instead of an increase in the gas tax.

"I think I'd probably prefer to have toll roads just because the people that use the roads ought to be the ones that pay for the tax," said Neves.

Redmon says lawmakers realize there are many factors to consider, discuss and explore.

"I'm not sure tolls are the way to go but I think that definitely needs to be in the discussion," Redmon concluded.

Here's where you come in -- lawmakers are asking for your opinion through an online survey.

The Missouri Transportation Funding Survey asks for public opinion about the state gas tax, sales tax, and toll roads in addition to other methods of increasing funds for MoDOT.

It only has about 15 questions and can be completed here.

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