ST. LOUIS — During summer travel in Missouri, playing the license plate game is always a favorite past time for many families. But counting the number of Missouri temporary tags, well that’s thousands across the state.
“Temp tags and expired temp tags in Missouri if you drive the roads — I see them everywhere,” said Doug Smith, head of the Missouri Automobile Dealers Association. “It’s not just a St. Louis problem. It’s the entire state.”
Currently, if you purchase a vehicle from a car dealer in Missouri, you get temporary paper tags and have 30 days to pay the sales tax at a DMV office.
For instance, a car that costs $10,000 in the city would be $1,000 in sales tax, which can be a lot for many.
But now, Gov. Mike Parson has signed into law a plan to update the state’s vehicle sales tax process.
It means when you purchase a new car, instead of just letting you drive it home and assuming you’ll go to the DMV to pay taxes later, Missouri will now ask you to pay your taxes at the point of sale. Many other states, like Illinois, already combine the two payments, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
Smith said it will make things easier on Missourians who might not have another $1,000 or more to pay later at the DMV.
“If you’re financing your vehicle for 48, 60 or 72 months, you’re talking just a few dollars per month that would be included in that retail installment contract,” Smith said.
“It’s really a way to make it easier to solve a lot of problems with the revenue collection and also make it easier on the taxpayer. Keep the taxpayer from not breaking the law by titling their vehicle.”
Smith welcomes the new law that begins Aug. 28. The plan will allow the Missouri Department of Revenue to get upgrades to their old computer system, and customers will also be able to pay the sales tax at the dealership, cutting out an extra step.
“By doing it at the point of sale with these, it upgrades those systems (and) can talk to the highway patrol,” Smith said. “Those systems can talk to motor vehicle registration, and you have a seamless way to communicate all that information.”
Smith estimates the state will generate $26-40 million that will fund improvements to roads, bridges and safety.
Those temp tags you see everywhere won’t go away overnight. Expect that to be a slow process over the next four years.
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Watching traffic go by their retirement community, these seniors say life is different for those who drive.
“They need something from the store, they jump in the car and go get it,” Karen Walsh said. “We have to plan out our shopping. It’s a whole different world.”
It’s a world turned upside down for 130 people that the Eastern Nebraska Department on Aging can’t pick up anymore because extra federal funding ended last week, and boundaries had to be enforced.
“They were being transported urban to urban, and we no longer can do that,” said Christine Gillette, of the Office on Aging. “We have to follow the census data. So if they live inside the pink boundary, and their destination is inside the pink boundary, they do not qualify.”
These Omaha seniors living an urban life no longer qualify ENOA rides to urban locations. So now they’re ride seekers.
“We’re used to doing for ourselves, let’s say,” Ella Ferguson said. “It’s difficult to ask people to stop what they’re doing to provide service for us.”
AN ENOA van ride costs $6 for a 10-mile round trip, and $20 for 20 miles there and back.
“I definitely can’t afford taxis or Ubers,” Walsh said.
Although they’re frustrated, some seniors are trying to be resourceful within the rules, calling in to ask whether they can’t be taken to a store or boundary within the Omaha boundary, or a ride to Fremont or Lincoln. But that won’t fly.
“Does that make sense for us to make that kind of trip?” Gillette said. “We have to be conscientious of what we’re doing with our vans and our drivers’ time.”
So urban seniors who need rides in the city hope another organization will step up — and pull up to their doors.
“Someone who feels sorry for us seniors and comes in and helps us out,” Joanne Evert said.
The Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging sees the need for more transportation options, but what they can provide is defined by the rural labels on their six vans.
Metro Transit said it doesn’t have the money to expand service without cutting it somewhere else. But a planning initiative called Metro-Next will look at gaps in ride service. The Metro Area Planning Agency is working with seniors who need rides to find other transportation services. MAPA will continue efforts to find long-term solutions.
MAPA’s statement on ENAO Transportation Services ending:
“MAPA shares the frustration and disappointment of clients who were receiving transportation services through the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. We have worked with those who have contacted us to attempt to find alternative transportation services to meet their needs, but we realize that, in some cases, there is not another low-cost option available. We continue our efforts to find a longer-tern solution to this problem.”
The Mustang has held the top spot since it took it from the Camaro in 2015, but the Challenger has momentum going into the second half of the year as its sales are up 37% in 2021 while the Mustang’s are down 5.4%.
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That is if you don’t count the electric Mustang Mach-E (note: you shouldn’t), which racked up 12,975 deliveries through June. In fact, it outsold the Mustang for the first time last month 2,465 to 2,240.
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Five years ago, Oakland planners broke ground on a bold project on Telegraph Avenue: a protected bicycle lane. It might not seem like that big of a deal until you see it. Most bicycle lanes in Oakland and the rest of California are the buffered type, which place bike riders in a painted strip next to vehicle traffic, with parked cars on their right. Protected lanes entirely separate bicyclists from moving traffic by putting a barrier in between them.
To do this on Telegraph, Department of Transportation staff started by reducing its four-driving lane design to two, with one lane for each direction of vehicle traffic, and a center turn lane. Then they moved car parking about four feet away from the curb and painted stripes designating the space in between parked cars and the sidewalk as the protected bicycle lane.
Over time, the Department of Transportation, commonly referred to as OakDOT, added other physical barriers like bollards, plastic poles stuck into the ground to better separate the protected lanes from the parking spaces, and planters and small islands. This pilot project was intended to demonstrate the effectiveness of protected lanes, and eventually the city would build permanent concrete separators and wider bike lanes, making the changes permanent.
But on June 2, OakDOT Director Ryan Russo recommended abandoning the protected lanes and returning the street to a buffered layout. The announcement caught many by surprise and marked an about-face for one of the transportation department’s most high-profile projects.
In a blog post explaining his decision, Russo wrote that it came down to three things. First, the many staggered outlets and entry points for cars, bikes, and pedestrians created dangerous intersections between the protected bike lanes and traffic. Second, the protected design, at least in its pilot phase, failed to alleviate potentially harmful economic effects on local businesses. And third, OakDOT was unable to conduct sufficient and equitable community outreach about the redesign and its impacts. Russo said further improvements could not overcome these issues.
“We brought in well-received bus boarding islands, two kinds of plastic posts, and planters designed to both beautify and protect the installation,” he wrote about improvements. “But each of these interventions proved temporary and insufficient.” Cars ended up running over posts, people removed planters, and the islands caused accidents.
The Japanese arm of Joyson Safety Systems, a United States-based automotive safety component maker, found 1,000 cases of data falsification when it came to Takata’s seatbelt tests, Reuters reports.
This investigation began back in October of 2020, and the results are conclusive: plants in Hikone, Japan and in the Philippines were found to have falsified test data on belt webbing for adult seatbelts and child safety seats. This webbing is the core of the belt’s strength, so it’s crucial that these elements are in top condition.
Unfortunately, the plants in question doctored data in order to meet client standards. It does not appear that these elements compromised safety, and there are currently no recalls issued for the belts at the moment. That said, Hisayoshi Iwamitsum president of JSS Japan, said JSS Japan submitted an investigation report to Japan’s transport ministry on Friday.
Here’s a little more from the Reuters story:
As part of preventive measures, the company introduced an electronic system in March that would prevent data from being falsified, and is working on expanding human resources for quality management, he added.
The investigation also showed that data had been falsified at Hikone plant over a two-decade period until Jan. 2020, overlapping with when Takata was embroiled in airbag scandals.
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Yes, having both seatbelt and airbag issues is not great. That doesn’t lend a lot of confidence to your company—but at the very least, the seatbelt issue doesn’t seem to be anywhere near as devastating as the airbag one, in part because the safety of the belts were confirmed by other tests.
If you’ve forgotten, about 67 million Takata air bags were recalled for potentially causing harm to drivers involved in accidents. Airbags exposed to high heat or humidity were prone to failing.