KC Councilman Michael Brooks Resigns After Choking Allegations

December 17, 2014 - Leave a Response

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Highway Commission Chief Says I-70 Toll Road Will Not Solve MoDot Money Problems

December 15, 2014 - Leave a Response

The head of the Missouri Highway Commission, Stephen Milleer, says converting I-70 into a toll road may improve the interstate, but would not help the state’s other highways or the state’s tight highway budget.
“This is not going to be a solution for all of our transportation needs. I-70 is just one project,” said Miller.
Governor Jay Nixon has asked the Missouri Department of Transportation to report to him by the end of the month on the potential for a toll-road on the rural portion of the interstate, about 200 miles.
In 2012, MoDOT produced a white paper on the same topic. It was entitled ‘A Public Private Partnership to Rebuild and Expand I-70 in Missouri’.
That report stated that the state already has all the necessary environmental approvals; federal permission to rebuild I-70 as a toll road and it “frees up money spent today on I-70 that could be used on other critical projects”.
The report also estimates auto would be charged about 10-15 cents a mile. That would add $20 to the car trip from Kansas City to St. Louis, at 10-cents a mile.
The report also says the rates for trucks could be” two or three times that”
The total cost for a revamped I-70 as a toll road was estimated at $2-to-$4 billion dollars at that time.
Miller says MoDOT started looking at the possibility of an I-70 toll road after the defeat of Amendment 7 at the polls in August. That was a sales tax increase for transportation in Missouri. One of the projects was adding a third lane to I-70 each way across all of Missouri.
The head of the Heavy Constructors Association in Kansas City, Ed DeSoignie was a member of a citizens panel that looked at the Missouri road system for the state legislature.
DeSoignie says the state’s transportation fund is in a crisis after the sales tax defeat. He claims the MoDOT finances are facing “falling off the cliff”.
Miller says MoDOT current budget of $485 million provides for maintenance or the current system and no improvements. He also warns that without help, that fund drops to under $400 million in 18 months. Both Miller and DeSoignie thinks the state will have to look at some other ideas.
“Any of those options are going to require the public to fund it someway. Whether you call it a toll or a tax,” Miller said

Blunt, McCaskill & Hartzler Get New Committee Assignments

December 15, 2014 - Leave a Response

Missouri Republican senator Roy Blunt has been reappointed to the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to a statement from his office.
Blunt served on the same committee in 2011 and 201. He was also a member of the Permanent Select Committee on intelligence when he served in the House.
““I look forward to building on my experience working on these issues in the House and Senate. I also plan to stay fully engaged in the discussion surrounding the relocation of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and working to ensure that facility stays in Missouri,” Blunt said in a Statement.
Blunt has also served on the Senate’s Armed Services Committee.
With two major military bases in Missouri, the Army’s Ft. Leonard Wood and the Whiteman Air Force Base, military spending is important to the US economy.
Both Blunt and Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill have served on the Armed Services Committee together.
McCaskill today announced she would be the new ranking Democrat on the Senate’s Aging Committee. Democrats will be in the Senate minority for the next two years after the party losses in November.
Western Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler was appointed to lead the House Armed Services Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.
That panel will study and investigate problems of waste and abuse in the nation’s military.
” “I look forward to working with Chairman Thornberry as we work to make sure that our armed forces remain the best in the world,” Hartzler stated in a news release.

Nixon Pushes for Missouri Capitol Remodeling

December 15, 2014 - Leave a Response

Missouri Capitol

AP) – Gov. Jay Nixon is backing a bonding package to pay for repairs to Missouri’s century-old Capitol building and other government and university facilities.
Nixon got a firsthand look at some of the needed repairs Monday. He walked through the mud underneath the Capitol’s driveway and used his fingers to snap off one of the many skinny stalactites that have formed from water leaks.
Earlier this year, the Legislature passed a measure authorizing up to $600 million of bonds for repairs or renovations at state facilities and college campuses. But little has been done with that, because not many specific projects were included in a separate budget bill passed by lawmakers.
Nixon wants lawmakers to approve a bonding project list during the 2015 session.

Mixed Results for Kansas Child Support Parent Collections

December 15, 2014 - Leave a Response

(AP) – Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback says privatization of the state’s child support collection system has been a good move because it made collecting the money more cost-effective.

But while the governor says Kansas collected $5.89 for every $1 spent collecting it in fiscal year 2014, other data indicate the state collected the lowest percentage of child support in the past 14 years.

The Topeka Capital Journal reports the state collected 54 percent of current support that was due, the lowest percentage since the state had a 48 percent collection rate in 2000.

The state also collected less in total dollars for parents in 2014 than in the previous year, while the percentage of payments in arrears that was collected hit a 13-year low.

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