Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce Questions
The following are general questions which the Local Issues Public Policy Task Force of the Chamber of Commerce uses to evaluate local ballot issue proposals.
- What will the proposal provide?
This proposal will provide funding for street and sidewalk rehabilitation, public/private shared cost and economic development projects, traffic signal/traffic calming program, sidewalks for schools program , metro signing and marking program, neighborhood improvements, center city development, reforestation and landscaping improvements. Three major projects include intersection widening, new traffic signals and additional turn lanes at Primrose and Campbell, widening Republic Road to 5 lanes from Campbell Avenue to Kansas Expressway and widen Mount Vernon Street to 3 lanes with sidewalks from Suburban Avenue to Orchard Crest Avenue. Design work and land purchasing will begin along Packer Road and its intersection with Kearney Road, design work and land purchasing on Primrose Avenue between South Avenue and Kings Avenue and design work and land purchasing on Republic Road from James River Freeway to Campbell Avenue. (See attached 2013-2016 ¼ Cent Sales Tax Program Draft of Proposed Projects.)
- What will that mean to business and economic development in our area?
According to a recent report from The Road Information Program (TRIP), "The efficiency of Missouri's transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state's economy. Businesses are increasingly reliant on an efficient and reliable transportation system to move products and services. A key component in business efficiency and success is the level and ease of access to customers, markets, materials and workers." In addition, "increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region's transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient transportation system." Approximately $185 billion in goods are shipped annually from sites in Missouri and another $178 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Missouri, mostly by commercial trucks on the state's highways. According to the Federal Highway Administration, every dollar invested in the nation's highway system will yield $5.40 in economic benefits from reduced delays, improved safety and reduced vehicle-operating costs. In addition, a recent USDOT study concluded that for each $1 billion of federal spending on highways and transit construction supports 13,000 jobs.
- What will that mean to our quality of life?
The proposed transportation projects will enhance the city's position as the regional center in Southwest Missouri for medical, educational, retail, and cultural-recreational activities. Accessibility into and through the community will be improved for those who rely on Springfield as the center of our region. The quality of life within the city is supported by: maintaining regional competitiveness, productivity, and efficiency; increasing the safety and security of the transportation system for motorized and non-motorized users; increasing the accessibility and mobility options available to people and for freight; promoting energy conservation; by promoting efficient system management and operation; and emphasizing the preservation of the existing transportation system. In short, this partnership will reduce congestion, which saves time and fuel, reduce vehicle emissions, and enhance traffic safety.
- What is the cost to businesses?
This proposal is a renewal of an existing sales tax with no additional cost to taxpayers. The proposed improvements will reduce related transportation costs for both businesses and the traveling public while maintaining the competitive sales tax rate enjoyed by area businesses and the public.
- What is the cost to residents?
This proposal is a renewal of an existing sales tax with no additional cost to taxpayers. Approximately 50 percent of the revenues for this program come from non-residents, who along with residents, will benefit from greater safety and roadway capacity on major roadways that serve the region. A family with an annual income of $50,000 would pay $4.00 per month (assuming a taxable disposable income of $20,000).
- Does the political subdivision proposing this issue have strong and stable leadership?
The "Completed as Promised" list of projects constructed in four previous Capital Improvement Sales Tax Programs documents the strong and stable leadership of the City Council, City staff, and the development community.
- Have they been accountable?
The City, County, & MoDOT have established an outstanding record of completing projects As Promised on time and on budget. The three-year sunset provision has required and ensured accountability to the public, which has resulted in an approval rate of over 5 in 8 voters for the last four renewals.
- Is there a strong consensus of support among their governing board?
City and County elected officials recognize the importance that area residents have placed on transportation investments. Citizen surveys have consistently ranked traffic improvements as a high priority and the biggest concern for the next 5 years. The City Council unanimously supported the five previous 1/4-Cent Capital Improvements Program Sales Tax initiatives and has expressed that same level of support for this proposal.
- Is this proposal specific?
Yes, the proposal has a specific list of programs and projects, which has received City and County approvals.
- Does it have a sunset clause or other accountability measures?
The 1/4-Cent Capital Improvements Program Sales Tax includes a three-year sunset provision. Frequent updates on progress of the projects are made to City Council and the media to keep the public informed, "Completed as Promised" status boards at project sites, and through news releases.
- What is the potential and likely timeframe for future ballot proposals?
Given the magnitude of our local transportation investment needs and the importance of transportation system improvements to the community, it is expected that the 1/4-Cent Capital Improvements Program Sales Tax would be submitted to voters in April of 2013 for renewal with a list of specific high-priority projects.
- What other alternatives to this proposal have been considered?
While other funding options have been considered, the local transportation sales tax was chosen for several reasons including: fairness (residents and non-residents alike pay sales tax and both have received benefits from transportation improvements); local collection and investment in the community; projects are funded on pay-as-you-go basis; and it is the least expensive of possible funding sources to administer.
- What is the impact if voters do not approve this proposal?
Unfortunately, these important infrastructure investments would be delayed. In addition, our community would begin to feel as well as see deterioration in our streets, signing, striping and our neighborhoods. By advancing these high-priority transportation projects sooner, the public also would likely realize significant cost savings as construction materials and costs have been increasing faster than more broad-based inflation or cost-of-living indices.