- Associated Press - Thursday, April 3, 2014

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A discussion Thursday on state funding for bicycle paths temporarily halted debate in the Missouri House on a proposed constitutional amendment that would levy a one-cent sales tax increase for transportation projects.

Lawmakers set aside the measure after an amendment was proposed that would have prevented any of the new revenue from being spent on bike baths.

Its sponsor said the tax revenue should be used only to fund core infrastructure projects, such as roads and bridges.

“The proper role of government isn’t to fund bicycle paths,” said Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific.

But House Democrats spoke against the amendment and said the state should promote alternative forms of transportation. They also threatened that they would oppose the entire measure if the amendment were added.

“If it is in there, many people will automatically become unalterable opponents of this important transportation initiative,” said Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia.

Opposition from Democrats could sink the transportation measure that state officials say is necessary in order for Missouri to be able to maintain its roads and bridges.

Both the House and Senate last year passed a similar one-cent sales tax, but the chambers could not come to a final agreement in the closing days of the session. The measure needed help from Democrats in both houses to pass because there were not enough Republicans supporting the bill to get a majority.

Under the legislation, 10 percent of funds raised by the penny tax would go toward local transportation projects. Cities could earmark a portion of those local funds to other forms of transportation including air, rail, bicycle and pedestrian projects. The amendment would remove bicycles from that list.

House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, did not say when or whether the legislation would be debated again. The bike path amendment was still pending when the measure was set aside.

If passed by the House and Senate, the measure would need to be approved by Missouri voters at the November ballot.


Transportation funding is HJR68


Legislature: https://www.moga.mo.gov

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