Missouri highway chief says tax money declining

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 | 3:40 p.m. CST; updated 4:50 p.m. CST, Wednesday, November 19, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri's highway funding has hit a pothole.

The director of the Missouri Department of Transportation says revenues are down almost 5 percent through the first four months of the fiscal year. That amounts to a more than $18 million decrease.

If the trend continues, Director Pete Rahn says there could be a $73 million shortfall this fiscal year in revenues from fuel taxes, motor vehicle sales taxes and license fees.

Of particular concern are slow auto sales, which have led to an 11 percent decline in vehicle sales tax revenues. Rahn says the department is dependent upon motor vehicle sales tax revenues to repay the bonds that have financed the most recent round of road improvements.

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