JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s state auditor says many transportation development districts statewide often have little oversight or transparency, amassing nearly $1 billion in outstanding project costs unapproved by taxpayers.
State Auditor Nicole Galloway, in a report released Monday, found that such project costs are to be repaid with sales taxes without taxpayer consent.
Galloway said laws applying to the districts initially were meant to help local communities with transportation projects benefiting the public interest. But she says they have morphed into public funding sources for private developers.
Galloway says most districts are created and managed by the owners and developers who stand to gain most from the districts’ tax collections, creating a conflict of interest and what the auditor calls a rigged system.