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Archive for Thursday, May 29, 2003

Senator: Missouri may need road tolls

Bond says funds would help pay for necessary highway repairs

May 29, 2003

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— Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., on Wednesday said Missouri and other states might have to consider toll roads to help pay for overhauling the aging interstate highway system.

He said the need for road repair and construction outstripped federal resources.

"You can't just depend on federal dollars," Bond said during a visit to Kirkwood, a St. Louis suburb.

Bond joined Federal Highway Administration chief Mary Peters in touting the Bush administration's multiyear spending plan for highways and public transit.

He is chairman of a transportation subcommittee that will help write the multiyear spending bill the Senate will consider. He said the administration plan would serve as a framework, but his subcommittee would change and refine it.

In a telephone interview, Missouri Democratic Party spokesman Mike Kelley said he found Bond's suggestion for toll roads remarkable, in that it recognized a need for alternative ways for states to raise money. Missouri Republicans oppose Democratic Gov. Bob Holden's plan to generate revenue from taxes on gambling and cigarettes.

"Hopefully (Bond will) encourage the president to make reforms instead of passing these burdens onto the states," Kelley said.

Bond, Peters and Missouri Department of Transportation director Henry Hungerbeeler spoke at a closed question-and-answer session on transportation with area chambers of commerce, businesses and civic groups. They met with reporters afterward.

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