Report calls for gas tax increase

By Adam Rollins, Record Staff Writer
Posted 11/7/19

A 10-cent increase to Missouri’s motor fuel tax is the best short-term solution for statewide transportation funding, according to a new report.The recommendation, along with findings for long-term …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Report calls for gas tax increase

Posted

A 10-cent increase to Missouri’s motor fuel tax is the best short-term solution for statewide transportation funding, according to a new report.The recommendation, along with findings for long-term sustainability of Missouri’s 33,000 miles of highway, were published last week in a report by the 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force. The group was commissioned by the Missouri Legislature to study how the state can close the gap in funding for its network of roads and bridges.Missouri has a flat fuel tax of 17 cents per gallon, which was last raised in 1996. But due to inflation, that 17 cents is worth much less than it was 20 years ago, leaving the state with $825 million of unfunded transportation needs annually, according to the report.The task force found that to have the same purchasing power for materials and labor as 20 years ago, the fuel tax would have to be raised to 27 cents. That’s why the task force is recommending a 10-cent increase for the tax on motor fuel.State Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, has filed a legislative bill to make that change. Schatz is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and was a member of the transportation system task force.The 10-cent tax increase would cost Missouri drivers an average of $5 per month, according to the report. It would bring in an extra $400 million annually for state roads and bridges.The tax increase would have to be approved by a statewide public vote.Missouri has the seventh-largest state highway system in the nation, but ranks 47th in revenue raised per mile and has the fourth-lowest motor fuel tax, the report states.Long-term fundingTo avoid future funding problems, the task force recommended a new provision that would allow the fuel tax to be adjusted for inflation. That would cause the tax to automatically be increased to keep up with the cost of maintaining roads.However, because of improvements in fuel efficiency and the emergence of electric vehicles, the report also recommends several new sources of long-term highway funding. Those include:• Increases to driver license and vehicle registration fees, which haven’t changed since the 1980s;• Increased fees on electric vehicles;• Sales tax on internet purchases;• Tolling on major bridges and optional express lanes in metro areas;• Vehicle charges based on mileage or fuel efficiency.The report also doesn’t rule out the possibility of public-private partnerships, which were a contentious issue during the 2017 legislative session. A bill proposed last year would have allowed tolling along Interstate 70 as part of a partnership between the state and a private company to pay for interstate reconstruction.Gas tax


X