Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dixon Preps To Take The Lead on Transportation

Springfield Rep. Bob Dixon won the key chairmanship of the House Transportation Committee this legislative session. He said he requested a seat on the committee, but was "very happy" when Speaker Ron Richard asked him to head it up.


Dixon, of the 140th district, met with MoDOT leaders and the State Highway Commission have met and outlined the following priorities that will get a "fair hearing" before his committee:

  • WRECKAGE REMOVAL -- MoDOT wants lawmakers to look at modifying the legislation on the time necessary to respond to clean up abandoned or wrecked automobiles on the highways. Right now, rural areas have 48 hours for so-called "wreckage removal," whereas urban areas have just 10 hours. MoDot says it should probably be consistent around the state.
  • RED LIGHT CAMERAS -- Springfield has them. Arnold has them. But most towns don't. Dixon says implementing standards for red light cameras statewide could creep up in his committee.
  • PRIMARY SEAT BELT LAW -- The bill that would allow police officers to pull someone over simply for not wearing a seatbelt is again on the table. "It's very controversial," says Dixon. He's promised it a fair hearing in his committee. "We'll have the discussion," says Dixon. But his position? "In general, I have a lot of respect for civil liberties and less government. I tend to think people can think for themselves." The bill has died the last few years.

While transportation funding will be the most pressing issue the state faces, Dixon said a special committee called Infrastructure & Transportation Funding will mostly deal with that.

The proposed federal economic stimulus is estimated to give $30 billion dollars to state transportation department, including about $500 million to Missouri.

Dixon also says the recent shuffle in Missouri politics hasn't changed his future political plans. He still says he's planning to run for the #30th District State Senate seat in 2010, but adds: "I really don't know what's going to happen next."

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