The Missourian asked candidates for state representative in our region to answer a series of questions, and we're presenting their answers, as they wrote them, in a series of articles.
Today's question: There is agreement that funding for transportation infrastructure improvements is lacking in Missouri. What solutions do you support?
Cheri Toalson Reisch, Republican, District 44
I voted to support putting Prop D on the November ballot to raise the gas tax.
Maren Bell Jones, Democrat, District 44
I support a rise in the gasoline tax since the last one has not happened since the 1990s. I do not support making I-70 a toll road.
Cathy Richards, Republican, District 46
Proposition D, if passed, is a good example on how new laws can bring in needed revenue to get infrastructure corrected in Missouri. Anyone who travels I-70 knows how dangerous it is when traffic is heavy. We are far behind other states when it comes to road expansion and maintenance.
Martha Stevens, Democrat, District 46
We need to do something to address our crumbling roads and infrastructure, which is why I support Prop D that will be on the ballot in November. If passed, Prop D will result in four annual bumps to the fuel tax. Quite simply, this is a public safety issue. Over 3,000 bridges in Missouri were classified structurally deficient in 2017, which is the fourth highest amount of any state in the US. Missouri’s current fuel tax is 17 cents per gallon and hasn’t been increased since 1996.
William Hastings, Green, District 46
In general, I support changes in the tax structure to favor the poor and taxes should only be increased on the wealthy who can afford to pay. However, gas tax is a special case, and so I would support an increase in the gas tax, although it is a regressive tax. This would supply much needed funds for infrastructure repair. The government also has a right to reward those who save energy, e.g. by driving electric cars or not driving at all, and a gas tax does this. Infrastructure improvement should go hand-in-hand with improvement in mass transportation. Missouri needs better railroads and airports.
Adrian Plank, Democrat, District 47
I do support infrastructure funding. While Proposition D is something that we need, it is not perfect and I would rather have proper state funding instead of giving tax breaks to the people at the top and letting that trickle-down to the rest of us in the form of Prop D.
Note: Chuck Basye, Republican, District 47, did not submit a response.
Sara Walsh, Republican, District 50
I voted in favor of putting Proposition D (the gas tax) on the ballot to fund transportation infrastructure. I sent out a survey to my constituents and most supported a gas tax for infrastructure (roads and bridges).
Michela Skelton, Democrat, District 50
I support a gas tax increase that is not overly burdensome to rural communities that often have to travel long distances for work and that places more responsibility on heavier diesel powered vehicles that do the most damage to our roads. I also support using higher corporate tax revenues for infrastructure spending as most businesses want access to high quality transportation networks if they are going to locate in our state.