September 27, 2004
Ginger Harris, 314-994-7106
Carla Klein, 573-815-9250
Sierra Club Announces Opposition to Amendment 3
The Highway Robbery Amendment
The Sierra Club today announced its opposition to Missouri Constitutional Amendment 3.
We're proud to join Missourians for Tax Justice, the Missouri League of Women Voters, St. Louis teachers, and the many other organizations that have announced their opposition to Amendment 3," said Chapter Chairman Keet Kopecky of Kansas City. The No on Amendment 3 Committee calls it the 'Highway Robbery Amendment,' and we agree."
This just looks like a money grab on the part of the highway construction industry, said Chapter Director Carla Klein of Columbia. "They want voters to think this is all about repairing highways. In fact, Amendment 3 will take general revenues that now go for things like services for children and seniors and instead spend it to build new highways. Amendment 3 interferes with state priority setting -- something that should be done by the General Assembly as part of the appropriation process. Legislators need flexibility in the state budget to address our changing needs.
"Missouri has one of the lowest gas taxes in the country," said Ginger Harris of St. Louis, Co-Chair of the Sierra Clubs Transportation Committee. It doesn't make sense to divert general fund money away from things like public transit and education while highway users still pay lower fees than in any adjoining states. What's more, Amendment 3 largely ignores Missouri's other transportation modes. It would slash general revenue by more than $150 million per year, and that's the money from which Missouri funds rural and urban public transit, passenger and freight rail, and air and river ports. Sierra Club believes funding for public transit is critical in reducing air pollution and addressing urban sprawl.
"This amendment was literally bought and paid for by the highway lobby," said Roy Hengerson of Jefferson City, Ozark Chapter Legislative Committee Chair. "This very complex issue has been reduced to an overly simplistic sales pitch. We urge voters to say NO to Amendment 3.
The Club's action took place at a regular bimonthly meeting of the Ozark Chapter of the Club.