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Federation of local chambers rallies for transportation funding

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A statewide federation of local chambers of commerce came together today to begin rallying support for transportation funding in advance of a November ballot initiative. The Missouri Chamber Federation includes more than 125 local chambers of commerce. For years, members of the Missouri Chamber Federation have listed transportation funding as a top state policy goal.

“Transportation infrastructure is critical to the health of the economy in our region,” said John Mehner, president and CEO of the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce. “Like many other places in Missouri, the business leaders in our community have grown concerned about the lack of progress being made toward repairing our outdated infrastructure and the inability to invest in new connections needed for the future. Missouri has the seventh largest transportation system and our funding ranks 46th in the nation in revenue per mile. It’s clear that funding is the issue. Our chamber will be working this summer and fall to help members of our community understand what better transportation funding could mean for our region.”

In November, Missouri voters will be asked to approve a 2.5-cent fuel tax increase each of the next four years. Missouri’s current 17-cent per gallon fuel tax is one of the lowest in the nation. It has not been raised since 1996. If passed by voters, the ballot item would bolster the state’s funding for public safety and road and bridge construction. It includes new revenue for local transportation projects.

“We need to make sure that Missourians across our state understand that infrastructure funding is critical to the future of our economy. In addition, they must also know that improving our state’s roads and bridges can create a safer transportation environment for Missouri families,” said Scott Tate, president and CEO of the Greater St. Charles County Chamber of Commerce. “With this vote coming up in November, it’s critical that we, as chamber leaders, are doing our part to bring this information to our communities. We need to help everyone in our state understand why infrastructure funding is important.”

The June 1 meeting took place during a conference call hosted by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“Transportation funding is a statewide problem and it will take statewide collaboration to find a solution,” said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “I’d like to thank the members of the Missouri Chamber Federation for their enthusiasm as we begin this effort. We are excited to work alongside local chambers across Missouri as we have the opportunity to take a significant step forward as a state and finally address our transportation funding problem.”

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