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New Governor says infrastructure is priority

COLUMBIA– Missouri’s new governor said this week in Columbia that infrastructure must be a top priority.

Governor Mike Parson (R) briefed reporters at the University of Missouri-Columbia’s campus.

“We cannot keep kicking that can down the road,” Parson said. “We’re going to have to face the fact that we gotta do something. At the end of the day it’s probably going to cost something.”

Missourians will cast ballots in November on a ten cent gasoline tax increase, which would be phased in over four years at 2.5 cents annually.

House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Reiboldt, R-Neosho, says he hopes Missourians see the need to fund both public safety and roads, with the November ballot issue.

Reiboldt describes the ballot measure as a public safety tax, which would fund the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the road and bridge fund.

“We need to have the people of Missouri where we can present to them what we feel like is the best avenues for the state of Missouri, and let the voters decide at the end of the day whether they want that or not,” said Parson.

Missouri’s current gasoline tax is 17 cents per gallon, which hasn’t been increased since 1996.

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, says that Governor Parson discussed infrastructure and transportation during Monday’s meeting with the state’s congressional delegation in Jefferson City.

Meantime, the Missouri Housing Development Commission is expected to meet soon to discuss low-income housing tax credits.

New Governor Parson, who supports the tax credits, said changes are needed.

“For low-income housing, and I’ve always been supportive of the low-income housing, that’s not been a secret. But there does need to be reform. We need to do real reform in that,” Parson said.

The Missouri Housing Development Commission, which was established in 1969, administers and provides financing for construction of affordable housing.

During a brief press conference at Mizzou’s Gwynn Hall, a reporter also asked Parson if he will use the state airplane.

“We’ll be using the state plane when we feel like it’s appropriate to use it. We’ll drive when we can, but yeah I think right now there’s nothing more important than traveling the state trying to find out what are the issues facing all the communities and all of the people of Missouri,” said Parson.

Governor Parson also said businesses must be involved in partnerships with colleges and universities. Parson toured Mizzou Wednesday morning with UM System President Dr. Mun Choi, Mizzou leaders, state lawmakers and reporters.

Parson also traveled to southeast Missouri’s Gordonville and Sikeston on Wednesday, and ended the day at Cortex in St. Louis.