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MoDOT Releases Road Project Draft List
By Felicia Lawrence
CARTHAGE, MO.--- According to the EPA, cars are becoming more fuel efficient, which means motorists are buying less gas.
"I drive a Nissan. I fill up about once every three weeks or so," said Kaden Brannin, Motorist.
"I probably fill up once every two weeks when I'm at home," said Debby Driskill, Motorist.
"About once every week, week and a half," said Bruce Smithey, Motorist.
This trend of fuel efficiency leaves the Missouri Department of Transportation strapped for cash.
"Our current primary funding source is gasoline tax. And as you might suspect, people are buying more fuel efficient cars. And the revenue from that is just going down. And the long-term prognosis is not very good," said Dan Salisbury, MoDOT Asst. District Engineer
MoDOT Assistant District Engineer Dan Salisbury says in 2009 the state's construction budget was $1.3 billion. Officials estimate by 2017, that budget will shrink to $325 million. Salisbury says, it's just not enough.
"Our roads will start to crumble. And it would be irresponsible of us not to be out there telling people this is going to be a serious problem," he said.
Which is why state legislators and MoDOT are proposing Amendment 7.
"Amendment 7 will be on the August 5th ballot and it consists of a three-quarter cent sales tax that will apply to everything except groceries, prescription medication, and gasoline," he said.
The other part of Amendment 7 includes a draft list of proposed construction projects for the state. The largest project on the draft list in our area will include a high-speed directional interchange in Carthage. That will connect Highway 249 and Interstate 49 without forcing motorists to stop at a light.
"Our responsibility is to educate people on this project list. And we just encourage people to take a look at it, be informed, and go vote in August," he said.
Amendment 7 proposes a total of $4.8 billion in transportation projects statewide and includes several other projects in our area. Voters will have an opportunity to attend a community forum at the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce this Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Amendment 7 will be on the August 5th ballot.