Proposed tax hike would boost infrastructure revenue for bridge and road repairs.
Missouri Legislators Consider Gas Tax Increase
Missourians may start paying more at the pump if legislators approve a proposed gas tax increase.
Senate Bill 623 would raise the tax on motor fuel by 1.5 cents per gallon and by 3.5 cents per gallon on diesel fuel beginning Oct. 1, 2016. A fiscal analysis of the bill estimates that this increase would generate almost $80 million annually for transportation funding, including upkeep and repairs on Missouri’s roads and bridges. There are two other bills proposing gas tax increases—House Bill 1381 (2 cents per gallon increase) and House Bill 1581 (8 cents per gallon increase for diesel and 7 cents per gallon increase for other fuel)—but neither are currently on the House calendar.
Missouri’s current gas tax—17 cents per gallon—hasn’t been raised since 1996. And like many other states, Missouri’s dwindling transportation revenue has led to problems maintaining infrastructure: A recent USA Today study found that nearly 10 percent of U.S bridges are structurally deficient and in need of repair, with Missouri named as one of five states with the most deficient bridges (3,222).
SB 623 was passed unanimously by the Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee and awaits debate in the full Senate. If passed by the Senate, the bill may face more resistance in the House.
Meanwhile, GOP legislators are proposing a plan to fund road and bridge repairs with money already in the budget. Instead of raising the gas tax, some lawmakers are aiming to use the savings from cuts to welfare programs, which they estimate will generate $1-2 billion over the next 10 years.
NFIB members in Missouri are divided on the gas tax.