Put your money where your mouth is

Dennis Warden

Don’t you just love to complain? Most of us do. We complain about the weather, we complain about traffic, we complain about work, we complain about federal, state and, in particular, local government.

It seems that nothing is done correctly and if only we were in charge everything would be better.

Or, maybe we as a society just love to criticize. Does it make us feel better? Basically there are three reasons we gripe and grumble about our environment.


A good conversation starter

Validation for what we believe

Complaining can be a denial of responsibility, and blame is just another way of excusing yourself from being responsible.

Of course it’s easier to lament about something than to sit down and find a solution. It keeps us from having to take action.

The other day I was in a small group in which most everyone was complaining about roads in Missouri. That is something I have complained about before. Usually I complain about road construction in the state of Illinois when I’m on a trip.

One of the current subjects to complain about for Owensville residents is Highway 19 north where MoDOT had the highway widened and then chip and sealed this summer.

Many small communities in Missouri also resort to chip and seal their streets as opposed to a new layer of asphalt to save money.

On the November ballot we can vote for a phased-in 10-cent increase in the state’s 17-cent per gallon motor fuel tax. 

If approved our fuel tax rate will rise 2.5-cents per year beginning in 2019 and ending in 2022.

The last time the state had a hike in gas taxes was 1992. In 1990 the average miles per gallon for passenger vehicles was 16.4. In 2016 fuel economy of new U.S. cars and trucks hit a record 24.7 miles per gallon. We use less gas now than in 1992. That means less revenue for MoDOT.

Everyone should know by now that Missouri has the fourth-lowest gasoline tax and the seventh-largest state highway system in the United States. MoDOT has 33,884 miles of road, and 10,394 bridges, the sixth most nationally, according to a state task force report released in January.

There is your reason why our roads and bridges are not up to par.

A good analogy would be a house. That is something most of us can understand. In this example the house needs a new roof. But, due to finances the homeowner cannot afford a the new roof without some sacrifices.

So he ignores the problem hoping it will go away. A few years later our homeowner notices a couple small water leaks. It’s not that bad and he only notices it after a heavy downpour. Ten years latter you’ll find the homeowner in a house with rotting wood and mold ready to be condemned.

Then instead of $10,000 to replace the roof he has lost his complete investment in a house that used to be worth $100,000.

Sooner or later we, as voters, have to realize that this problem is not going to go away. Like any large expenditure, the longer we wait to fix the problem the more it’s going to cost.

The average driver uses 656 gallons per year. That means a 10-cent increase in gas tax would cost each driver less than $70 per year or $5.83 per month.

In November we have a chance to put our money where our mouth is. If this does not pass, no one has a right to complain about our roads, bridges and traffic congestion who did not vote for the fuel tax increase.

I hate paying taxes as much as any freedom loving American, but it is a necessary evil. There is no question in my mind that taxes sent to the federal government are mostly wasted. 

In general one of the best uses for our tax dollars on the state level is in roads and bridges. That is why I am going to vote yes in November on the fuel tax increase.