The Missouri Senate is considering another idea in SB 430 that would increase the state motor fuel tax from 17 cents a gallon to 23 cents within three years. Everybody knows voters last November rejected a 10-cent hike in the motor fuel tax. That bill had other funding in it and wasn’t a clear funding proposition.
SB 430 would not require a statewide vote and the tax would be increased 2 cents a year for three years. After three years it would require that the tax be adjusted for inflation annually.
Sen. Doug Libia, R-Popular Bluff, sponsor of the bill, said the present tax of 17 cents a gallon is only worth about 8 cents now due to inflation. He said the state has gone 23 years without adjusting the tax for inflation. The state tax of 17 cents a gallon hasn’t been raised since 1996.
Sen. Libia said if the 17-cent tax had been adjusted for inflation since 1996, Interstate 70 probably would be four lanes from Lee’s Summit to Wentzville.
Sen. Libia’s bill has an emergency provision which would allow it to take effect when signed by the governor.
Sen. Dave Schatz of Franklin County, president pro tem of the senate, supports the bill. There is some opposition.
The need for funding for roads and bridges has been well documented. Sen. Libia’s bill is an answer. It’s not a complete answer, however. Gov. Mike Parson has proposed a $350 million bond issue to replace or repair about 250 bridges. If the two proposals were approved, that would be a giant step forward for Missouri.