PLATTE CITY, Mo. — Being the fastest growing county in Missouri is bringing a lot of revenue to Platte County but it’s also bringing new attention to the condition of some of its roads.
Platte County Commissioners are working on a proposal to extend and potentially decrease the county’s 3/8 of a cent road sales tax.
It was first approved in 2003 and was renewed in 2013, giving the local government money to fund or partially fund a wide range of large infrastructure improvements like bridges and roads. Even though it normally brings in a few million dollars every year, County Commissioner Joe Vanover says it can be used to attract funding from other sources.
“Anybody that has funds to spend on transportation issues, they want to see matching dollars,” Vanover said. “So, the federal authorities or state authorities, when they want to do a project, they want to see that the local people have some buy-in on this project by putting their own money into it. This 3/8 of a cent sales tax has been that pot of money for a lot of [Platte County] cities and the for the county to draw in matching dollars to get some great things done.”
That investment has allowed Platte County to attract major investments like Hunt Midwest’s KCI 29 Logistics Park plans, which will eventually use 3,300 acres of farmland to build a megasite for industrial and/or manufacturing facility near KCI, or Meta’s $800 million data center, creating 100 jobs in the area.
Those big investments will lead to more big investments and only encourage the already expanding population to grow even more. The new home construction near Jim Comb’s house is a common sight all over the county which is why the main road leading to his subdivision, NW 108th Street, is so problematic.
In one direction, there’s a one-lane bridge that limits what can drive through and often makes drivers heading towards each other to stop and pass one at a time.
“Most of the residents here do a pretty good job of alternating back and forth and yielding when it comes to crossing that bridge,” Combs said.
In the other direction, a slanted and overgrown intersection makes it hard for any driver to see if anyone is coming from any direction during the summer months when foliage blocks all lines of sight.
“Anytime we come up that way, we actually stop at the stop sign, we roll our windows down, turn off the radio and the fan in the car so we can hear if there’s any oncoming traffic,” Combs said.
It’s smaller projects like these that Vanover says a continued road sales tax would help cover, allowing the constant stream of construction in Platte County to continue.
“There are developers that want to put up subdivisions for dozens or hundreds of new homes and every once in a while, there’s a bottleneck where there’s an old, one-lane bridge that’s preventing areas from developing,” Vanover said.
Right now, Commissioners are discussing what proposal, if any, they will put on the ballot for voters to approve in November.
If they decide to renew the tax, they could keep the 3/8 of a cent tax in place for the last two decades, or Vanover suggested they might reduce the tax to 1/4 of a cent. Whatever they choose could be put on the ballot in November for voters to either approve or reject.
Vanover said the Commissioners could have a proposal to circulate in public in the beginning of August before deciding if they’ll put in on the ballot in November.
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