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  • The Feds are holding the state hostage

    This is why Americans need to wake up to the reality of government under the Republicans and Democratic system...

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Missouri forgoes millions in aid
    By Shane Graber
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    02/23/2004


    Missouri's crumbling and complained-about highways missed out on millions of federal dollars and could risk even more if state lawmakers do not adopt mandatory seat belt and open container laws.

    With no law banning open containers of alcoholic beverages in cars, the state has been stuck under a federal order requiring it to spend $22.7 million in federal money during the last three years on safety projects instead of building and fixing highways. The government mandated in 2001 that all states either pass open container laws or spend a percentage of federal money on safety improvements.

    Missouri transportation officials expect to divert an additional $12 million in federal road money this year because of the order.

    And without a primary seat belt law - which would allow police officers to stop vehicles just for seat belt violations - Missouri would miss out on $77 million in federal money over the next three years, under a new highway bill that Congress is debating.




    That amount includes a one-time $17 million federal incentive if Missouri adopts a primary seat belt law.

    Under a current scenario in the highway bill, the federal government would redirect money from states that don't have primary seat belt laws to states that do.

    "That is unfortunate because our residents are asking us to give them pavement more than anything right now," said Missouri Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O'Fallon.

    Dr. Jeffrey W. Runge, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, told the Missouri House Transportation Committee this month that a primary seat belt law in the state would save 89 lives and prevent more than 1,000 serious injuries each year.

    About 73 percent of Missourians buckle up, Runge said. The national average is 79 percent. In 2002, traffic accidents in Missouri killed 995 people, and 71 percent of them were not wearing seat belts.

    State Sen. Jon Dolan, R-Lake Saint Louis, called the primary seat belt bill the most important traffic safety issue this session.

    "I feel it's time for us to talk about ways to make it rain federal highway dollars," said Dolan, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.

    Dolan, though, feels the open containers bill doesn't have the votes to pass the House, so he won't make it a priority in the Senate.

    "We've been down that road before," Dolan said. "That road is littered with the carcasses of well-meaning city politicians who have been hit hard by their rural colleagues. And open containers is not going to lose us money. It just forces us to spend a certain amount of money on safety, which I'm fine with."

    Davis drives Interstate 70 every week to get to Jefferson City. She has watched highway workers installing cables to prevent crossover accidents. The same money could have been spent on improving the road, she said.

    "I watched them putting that little wire in the median as I'm trying to avoid ruining my front end on all the potholes," she said. "I'm going to do damage to my alignment whether there's a wire there or not."

    The open container bill is as important as seat belts, Davis said. She filed a bill to prohibit anyone in a vehicle from having an open alcoholic beverage while on the road or the shoulder.

    The current law prohibits only the driver from having an open container. The bill excludes recreational motor vehicles, buses, taxis and limousines.

    But an open container law would crowd courts with difficult, costly, time-consuming cases, Dolan said. As for safety concerns, a 0.08 percent limit on a driver's blood-alcohol content accomplishes what an open container law would. Missouri passed the 0.08 limit in 2001 and has received $10.5 million from the federal government because of it.

    During a state of transportation address to the Legislature last month, outgoing Missouri Transportation Director Henry Hungerbeeler said that banning open containers and passing a primary seat belt law "will save lives and money and won't cost us a cent."

    Along with Missouri, 13 states - Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming - allow open containers. They, too, have had to divert millions in federal money.

    Illinois has not allowed open containers since the 1970s. As a result, Illinois' Transportation Department has been able to spend $51.3 million in federal money on highway construction and improvement over the last three years.

    "I don't understand why the beverage industry is opposing it," said Davis, the Missouri lawmaker. "And that's the main reason it hasn't passed."

    Davis asked industry representatives to support the open container ban, but they declined, she said.

    "From a public relations standpoint, they ought to get behind this bill. They should be concerned about their own perception."

    Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. believes Missouri already has the necessary laws that make drunken driving illegal.

    "In light of this, we believe there is no need to pass new laws to make it illegal for an adult passenger to be able to enjoy a beer while traveling with friends for an evening out or to see a ballgame," Rod Forth, vice president for government affairs, said in an e-mail statement.

    Despite the federal government's "heavy-handed efforts" to pass open container laws, Forth said, lawmakers should focus on ways to enforce existing laws and passing more laws that target high blood-alcohol content and repeat drunken driving offenders.

    At least 21 states, including Illinois, have primary seat belt laws. About 80 percent of Illinois drivers wear seat belts. Missouri must catch up with those figures, said state Rep. Trent Skaggs, D-Kansas City.

    The state's highways are losing out on too much money, and the state Transportation Department shouldn't shoulder all the blame, he said.

    "If we're going to complain that MoDOT isn't doing a good job, then I think we have a responsibility to get as much federal matching dollars as possible," said Skaggs, who filed a catch-all bill covering open containers and seat belts. "And if that requires us buckling our seat belts, more power to us."



    The bills are HB1121, 1200 and 1473.
    Make America Great For Once.

  • #2
    Again, too much government control. The states should be able to make their own laws without pressure from Washington.

    Who really cares about the open container law? It's illegal to drive drunk, why should it be illegal for the guy in the passenger seat to enjoy a beer. He's not driving.
    Asked what he would do differently in Iraq, Kerry said, "Right now, what I would do differently is, I mean, look, I'm not the president, and I didn't create this mess so I don't want to acknowledge a mistake that I haven't made."

    Comment


    • #3
      Again, too much government control. The states should be able to make their own laws without pressure from Washington.

      They are. Just don't expect aid, if it doesn't mesh.

      It is pretty simple.


      Funny that the libretarian is complaining about not enough federal aid.
      Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by lazydaze@Feb 24 2004, 08:42 AM
        Again, too much government control. The states should be able to make their own laws without pressure from Washington.

        They are. Just don't expect aid, if it doesn't mesh.

        It is pretty simple.


        Funny that the libretarian is complaining about not enough federal aid.
        The federal government should just cut the states a check each year and let them spend the money the best way they see fit. It's amazing how Washington has this idea that they know the best way to spend taxpayers money. Another reason why they should just let us keep it and make our own decisions.
        Asked what he would do differently in Iraq, Kerry said, "Right now, what I would do differently is, I mean, look, I'm not the president, and I didn't create this mess so I don't want to acknowledge a mistake that I haven't made."

        Comment


        • #5
          The federal government should just cut the states a check each year and let them spend the money the best way they see fit
          No way, if there is to be any federal aid, it has every right o be ties to certain stipulations.

          State welfare is just as bad as corporate or social welfare.

          The government should write blank checks to nobody. Federal Aid should be tied to certain qualifiers. Both domestically and foreign.
          Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by lazydaze@Feb 24 2004, 08:57 AM
            The federal government should just cut the states a check each year and let them spend the money the best way they see fit
            No way, if there is to be any federal aid, it has every right o be ties to certain stipulations.

            State welfare is just as bad as corporate or social welfare.

            The government should write blank checks to nobody. Federal Aid should be tied to certain qualifiers. Both domestically and foreign.
            I disagree. State governments know where they money should be spent better than the Federal government. If they don't spend it on what's necessary, they will be voted out of office.
            Asked what he would do differently in Iraq, Kerry said, "Right now, what I would do differently is, I mean, look, I'm not the president, and I didn't create this mess so I don't want to acknowledge a mistake that I haven't made."

            Comment


            • #7
              disagree. State governments know where they money should be spent better than the Federal government.
              What 'right' to money do States have. Raise their own revenues

              All hand outs should come with qualifiers.

              If you disagree with the qualifiers, work to change those. Don't change the system to hand out blank checks.
              Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by lazydaze@Feb 24 2004, 09:14 AM
                disagree. State governments know where they money should be spent better than the Federal government.
                What 'right' to money do States have. Raise their own revenues

                All hand outs should come with qualifiers.

                If you disagree with the qualifiers, work to change those. Don't change the system to hand out blank checks.
                I agree with no handouts, but if they are going to give the states money, let them decide what the best use for it is, not what Washington thinks the best use for it is. I'd much rather pay income taxes to the state so they can decide what to do with it.

                If that were to happen, states would have to compete for residents by being efficient with their revenues, much like a normal business does.
                Asked what he would do differently in Iraq, Kerry said, "Right now, what I would do differently is, I mean, look, I'm not the president, and I didn't create this mess so I don't want to acknowledge a mistake that I haven't made."

                Comment


                • #9
                  I don't like taxes in the first place, but, I'd much rather pay them locally than to the Feds. As a resident of Missouri, I'd much rather pay within the state, as opposed to seeing my monies go to New York.
                  Make America Great For Once.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by The Kev@Feb 24 2004, 09:24 AM
                    I don't like taxes in the first place, but, I'd much rather pay them locally than to the Feds. As a resident of Missouri, I'd much rather pay within the state, as opposed to seeing my monies go to New York.
                    Very true. Why doesn't this happen? It's hard to hold the people spending your money accountable, when you can't even vote for most of them.
                    Asked what he would do differently in Iraq, Kerry said, "Right now, what I would do differently is, I mean, look, I'm not the president, and I didn't create this mess so I don't want to acknowledge a mistake that I haven't made."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Where does the federal money come from?

                      Our taxes.

                      They are blackmailing us with our own money.
                      "You're my wife Margene, you can't be seeing the girl I'm dating." - Big Love

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Al,

                        They buy our votes with our own money too.

                        BTW - for every dollar you send to Washington D.C., only 20 cents actually makes it into "aid".

                        Methinks somewhere there must be some overhead.
                        And, frankly, it has never occured to me that "winning" a debate is important, or that I should be hurt when someone like Airshark or kah, among others (for whom winning a pseudo debate or declaring intellectual superiority over invisible others is obviously very important) ridicule me.

                        -The Artist formerly known as King in KC

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by The Kev@Feb 24 2004, 08:17 AM
                          This is why Americans need to wake up to the reality of government under the Republicans and Democratic system...
                          It's not a 'D' and 'R' thing, it's a money in politics thing.

                          If we had public elections (publically financed with spending limits, a level and competitive playing field), I'm sure there would be plenty of public servants from both parties, acting in *gasp* ... the public interest.
                          Damn these electric sex pants!

                          26+31+34+42+44+46+64+67+82+06 = 10

                          Bring back the death penalty for corporations!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            What's needed is limited government.
                            And, frankly, it has never occured to me that "winning" a debate is important, or that I should be hurt when someone like Airshark or kah, among others (for whom winning a pseudo debate or declaring intellectual superiority over invisible others is obviously very important) ridicule me.

                            -The Artist formerly known as King in KC

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Damtoft@Feb 24 2004, 01:14 PM
                              What's needed is limited government.
                              Eliminate the middle man .. pay taxes directly to large corporations
                              Damn these electric sex pants!

                              26+31+34+42+44+46+64+67+82+06 = 10

                              Bring back the death penalty for corporations!

                              Comment

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