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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Timeline given to create priority list for initiative petition

  • Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s (MRPC) Transportation Advisory Council (TAC) members last week were given a timeline for how regional transportation priorities would be included in a final list of improvements that could be funded if an initiative petition makes it to the statewide November 2014 ballot.
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  • Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s (MRPC) Transportation Advisory Council (TAC) members last week were given a timeline for how regional transportation priorities would be included in a final list of improvements that could be funded if an initiative petition makes it to the statewide November 2014 ballot.
    Last month, Secretary of State Jason Kander announced that an initiative petition relating to funding for transportation infrastructure met state standards for circulation.
    The official ballot title for the initiative petition reads:
    “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
    • Increase funding for state, county and municipal street, road, bridge, highway and public transportation initiatives by increasing state sales/use tax by 1%;
    • Prohibit a change in gasoline taxes and prohibit toll roads or bridges; and
    • Require these measures to be re-approved by voters every 10 years?”
    The annual increased revenue is estimated to start at $651 million for the state and $72 million for local governments.
    If approved, 5 percent of the proceeds of the tax would go to municipalities, another 5 percent would go to counties and the remaining 90 percent would go to transportation projects throughout the state at the discretion of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.
    This petition, which would amend Article IV of the Missouri Constitution, was submitted by Rodney Gray, of Jefferson City.
    Before any constitutional changes can be brought before Missouri voters in the November 2014 election, signatures must be obtained from registered voters equal to 8 percent of the total votes cast in the 2012 governor's election from six of the state's eight congressional districts.
    Signatures on behalf of all initiative petitions for the 2014 ballot are due to the secretary of state’s office by no later than 5 p.m. May 4, 2014.
    Before circulating petitions, state law requires that groups must first have the form of their petition approved by the secretary of state and attorney general.
    The secretary of state then prepares a summary statement of no more than 100 words and the state auditor prepares a fiscal impact statement, both of which are subject to the approval of the attorney general. When both statements are approved, they become the official ballot title.
    Timeline
    The proposed timeline for the planning process to include transportation projects in the Meramec region on the final improvement list was given to MRPC TAC members at their Dec. 12 meeting.
    The process must be “inclusive, transparent and accountable,” a handout from the meeting stated.
    From now through February 2014, goals include considering use of an outside facilitator, developing a regional contact list for representatives from all modes of transportation and beginning to develop a list of needs across all modes of transportation.
    Also during this time, district planning partners will meet to share ideas and ensure consistency in the planning process.
    Page 2 of 2 - During the Feb. 13, 2014, TAC meeting, members are tentatively scheduled to hear a presentation on the initiative process from the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). Representatives from all modes of transportation in the region will be invited to this meeting. TAC members will discuss and decide on a process while statewide planning partners will meet to discuss their progress and the next steps.
    In March 2014, goals include soliciting needs through email, mail, phone and online and hosting a public forum to further gather needs across all transportation modes. Also this month, MoDOT is expected to announce how the sales tax will be distributed by its districts.
    At the April 10, 2014, TAC meeting, members will review and prioritize the needs list and the MRPC board will confirm it. Again, representatives from all modes of transportation will be invited to this meeting. The district level plans will meet to coordinate projects and by April 30, information will be provided to MoDOT for consideration at the district level.
    In May 2014, the districts will begin developing the prioritized list and that list should be completed by June 2014. By July 1, 2014, the district recommendations will be due to MoDOT’s chief engineer.
    In August 2014, the chief engineer will recommend the 10-year transportation improvements list to the state highways and transportation commission and the 30-day public comment period will begin.
    By September 2014, the state commission plans to approve the final list.
    If all goes according to plan and enough signatures are obtained on the initiative petition, an election could be held Nov. 4, 2014.

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