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Politics

House Speaker Discusses Tax Increase for Transportation

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/housespeak_1191.mp3

Armed with graphs showing the increased cost of building roads, House Speaker Rod Jetton is traveling the state this month to talk about highway funding. He was at the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce this morning...KSMU's Missy Shelton was there and files this report.

House Speaker Rod Jetton says funding is inadequate to meet transportation needs of the state.

He outlined the state's transportation needs at a meeting today with local business and government leaders in Springfield and discussed the possibility of raising taxes to meet those needs.

He says the Missouri Department of Transportation has gone a long toward building public trust.

Any sizeable tax increase lawmakers might approve would also require voter approval. Jetton says the idea of a tax increase to fund transportation is still in its early stages and he does not expect lawmakers to formally take up the issue in the next legislative session, which begins in January. He says Republican Governor Matt Blunt has indicated he doesn't want to see a tax increase pass in the upcoming session.

Jetton isn't the only Republican talking about possibly raising taxes to fund transportation. Republican Senator Bill Stouffer began the conversation last year by discussing tax increases to widen interstates 44 and 70 to eight lanes.