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July 11, 2014
The St. Louis Regional Chamber Endorses Missouri Amendment 7 on the August 5th Election
 


On August 5th, Missouri voters will have the opportunity to vote yes on Amendment 7, a measure to improve Missouri’s roads, bridges, and transit through three-fourths of 1 percent of Missouri’s sales tax over the next 10 years.
  
As transportation funding has declined, so has the condition of Missouri’s roads. Two thousand of Missouri’s bridges are structurally deficient; nearly two-thirds of roadways are rated only fair or poor; and 20,000 miles of Missouri roads lack shoulders. It takes $483 million per year to maintain the condition of our current transportation systems, but by 2017 MoDOT’s budget will fall to $325 million. Amendment 7 is the only sustainable, accountable way to address these realities.

Ninety percent of Amendment 7 revenue will fund state priority transportation projects through MoDOT, and the remaining 10 percent will be split evenly between counties and cities for local transportation projects. Creating the tax through a constitutional amendment prevents future politicians from diverting funds to non-transportation spending. Additionally, all projects completed through MoDOT will be voted on by the Missouri Highway Transportation Commission and completion will be constitutionally guaranteed. You can find the full project list online: http://www.modot.org/movingforward/  

Everyone benefits from a safe and efficient transportation system. Not only will Amendment 7 make the necessary upgrades to Missouri’s road and bridges, but will spur job creation and long-term economic vitality. We encourage our members to learn more at www.fixmoroads.com and vote ‘Yes on 7’ on August 5.

Former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Speaks to the Chamber’s Connect at Breakfast Event

 
 Ray LaHood, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation, speaks
at the Connect at Breakfast event.
The Chamber co-hosted a Connect at Breakfast event on July 1st addressing transportation funding. Ray LaHood, co-chair of Building America's Future, delivered the keynote address emphasizing the importance of congressional action on the Highway Trust Fund and state funding of transportation.  Secretary LaHood noted that he normally focuses all his attention in these sorts of talks on the Highway Trust Fund, but instead focused much of his talk here on praising Missouri for Amendment 7 and the state's effort to address crucial transportation funding.  He endorsed Amendment 7 and called upon the audience members to educate their co-workers and employees on the ballot initiative.

Chad Schrand
, a director of the American Society of Civil Engineers-St. Louis, presented ASCE's Report Card on Missouri's infrastructure and the audience heard from a panel of local experts. Panelists Bob Cannon, group president for BJC HealthCare, Missouri State Rep. Dave Hinson (R-119), Bill McKenna, co-chair of Missourians for Safe Transportation and New Jobs, and Eddie Roth, Deputy Chief of Staff to St. Louis Mayor Slay, weighed in on Amendment 7 and a variety of transportation topics.


A few key take-aways from the event:

  • Missouri's infrastructure is not on a sustainable course and additional funding is needed if there is to be any chance for improvement. Read ASCE's Report Card for Missouri's Infrastructure here.
  • What is needed for transportation funding: vision, leadership, willingness, and courage. Government needs to tell the voters what they will do and then do it (and do it well).
  • Missouri Amendment 7 on the August ballot is a great way to fund local and state transportation needs. It is critical for businesses to educate their employees the importance of this ballot issue.
  • In the future, funding for a transportation project will likely need to come from multiple sources, including federal, state, local, and private funds.
  • To attract new talent and new businesses to the region, we must have a strong transportation infrastructure system.
Visit the Chamber’s Facebook Page for more photos.

U.S. State Department Official Visits the Chamber

 
Judith Heumann, Special Advisor for International
Disability Rights at the U.S. State Department, talks with
Jason Hall, Vice President, Business Development and Corporate
Counsel at the St. Louis Regional Chamber after the meeting.
On Monday, June 2nd the St. Louis Regional Chamber hosted Judith Heumann, Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the U.S. State Department. Ms. Heumann spoke with more than 30 people on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. She informed the gathering that the treaty, which is modeled after U.S. law and the Americans with Disabilities Act, has been signed by the President, but not ratified by the Senate. The treaty does not apply to the United States until the Senate ratifies the treaty with a two thirds vote. 145 countries have ratified the treaty to date. Judith Heumann shared three reasons why the treaty is important to the United States. First, it makes it easier for U.S. citizens, including disabled civilians, wounded veterans, and the elderly, to work, study, and travel abroad. Second, it is good for business in the United States. Ratification will open up new markets for American businesses as other countries will need the accessible products, technology, and expertise that have been developed here. Third, ratification reinforces America’s leadership worldwide on disability rights issues.

After Ms. Heumann finished, Colleen Starkloff, Co-Director of the Starkloff Disability Institute advocated for the ratification of the treaty by the U.S. Senate and asked attendees to contact Sen. Blunt and express their support for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The U.S. Chamber supports ratification of the treaty.

  


Upcoming Events
              


July 24th – St. Louis Regional Chamber Annual Event  
The Regional Chamber will host its Annual Event at the Peabody Opera House on Thursday, July 24th. Registration and cocktails begin at 6:00 p.m.  For more information please contact Linda Leonard at (314) 444-1138 or lleonard@stlregionalchamber.com.

July 28th - Illinois Public Affairs Network Meeting

U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL 15) (pictured right) will be the keynote speaker at an Illinois 
Public Affairs Network meeting on Monday, July 28th
 at the Doubletree Hotel in Collinsville, IL.  Breakfast will be available at 7:30 a.m., and the meeting will be held from 8:00 - 9:00 a.m.  Click here to register for the event
(Chamber members only).       

July 29th - Connect at Breakfast
Why the Business Community Supports Rigorous College & Career Readiness Standards
Join us for a panel of national experts and local business and education leaders discuss why maintaining rigorous and relevant college and career readiness standards is vital to our region's ability to develop a globally competitive workforce.  The event is from 7:30-9:30 a.m. at the Danforth Plant Science Center.  Click here to register for the event.

August 6th - Connect at Breakfast
EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks joins us for a conversation on "What the Clean Power Plan Means for Your Business."  The event is $10 for members and is from 7:30-9:00 a.m. at the RCC.  To register, call Karen Butchko at (314) 444-1109 or email her at connect@stlregionalchamber.com.

For questions or more information, please contact Sherri Bailey at (314) 444-1134 or sbailey@stlregionalchamber.com.




contact the Chamber's public policy team

The Advocate is published periodically to inform Chamber members and key stakeholders about important public policy matters.  It seeks to provide timely,
in-depth coverage on important issues, and to call Chamber members to action when appropriate. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

Charlie Hinderliter | Manager of Advocacy Outreach | 314.444.1169 | chinderliter@stlregionalchamber.com 
Sherri Bailey | Executive Assistant for Public Policy | 314.444.1134 | sbailey@stlregionalchamber.com