JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A group of Missouri lawmakers is recommending a 10 cent raise to the state’s gas tax for each gallon in order to maintain the Show-Me State’s more than 3,000 miles of highway.
In an 87-page report issued on Monday, the 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force outlined a number of legislative remedies they say would address issues and concerns about the highway system and funding for it.
During a Tuesday afternoon press conference, the chairman of the task force, Rep. Kevin Corlew, said that the purchasing power of the state’s current 17-cent-per-gallon fuel tax was no longer keeping up with inflation.
“The same purchasing power that 17 cents had in 1996 is now only 8 cents,” he said. “Just to keep up with inflation, we need an adjustment.”
He explained that increasing the fuel tax by 10 cents and adding a 12 cent tax increase on diesel would provide a boost in funding, raising an estimated $430 million in revenue for projects each year. In one decade, that proposed tax increase would net more than $4 billion.
The task force also proposed taking an additional $50-70 million in funds and dedicating it to aviation, mass transit, railroads, and ports.
“Now it’s time to begin the discussion that will put at least some of these ideas into action,” Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Dan Mehan said in a statement. “Missouri can’t afford to see our natural advantage as a central state diminished by a poorly-funded transportation system. We need to invest for our future and we hope the Missouri General Assembly will take action.”
Read the full report here:
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.