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Proposed 1-Cent Sales Tax For Transportation Needs Filed In Mo. Senate

Legislation has been filed in the Missouri Senate that would create a temporary sales tax dedicated to funding transportation needs statewide.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio /
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The proposed constitutional amendment would create a one-cent sales tax that would expire after 10 years.  It’s co-sponsored by State Senator Mike Kehoe (R, Jefferson City).  He says the one-penny tax would not be levied on groceries, prescription medicine or fuel.

“As a legislative body, we’ll not raise the gas tax, we’ll not toll existing roads," Kehoe said.  "MoDOT’s done their part – they’ve tightened their belt to make sure the department is running as efficiently as it possibly can, and now I think it’s our turn.”

Most of the money raised would go to state needs, but 10 percent would go to cities and counties for local transportation needs.  Supporters also say it would create around 270,000 jobs.  The other co-sponsor is State Senator Ryan McKenna (D, Crystal City).  He says there are three highways in his district that bear the nicknames “Blood Alley” and “Death Valley” – State Highway 21 and lettered routes MM and W.

“A friend of mine, Chris Foley, that lived down the road from me, was killed on Highway MM about 10 (or) 12 years ago," McKenna said.  "That’s when I started really trying to get involved with Highway MM and W, to try to get safety improvements along that stretch of road.”

The proposal is the same one touted last month by Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission Chairman Rudy Farber.  If passed by lawmakers, the proposal would go before Missouri voters in November of 2014. 

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

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Marshall Griffin
St. Louis Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a native of Mississippi and proud alumnus of Ole Miss (welcome to the SEC, Mizzou!). He has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off an old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Liberty Belle, and their cat, Honey.