JOPLIN, Mo. — Finding more funding for highways, airports and other transportation projects is a priority for some Missouri lawmakers next year. And that could lead to a hike in the gas tax.
That number is still under discussion, but the recommendation to raise the tax has some official backing. That comes from weeks of public hearings and meetings from the 21st century Missouri Transportation System Task Force.
“I would prefer to see a dedicated sales tax because I think even if you don’t drive, you get, things you buy get here normally by gas, by truck,” says Lea Schroer, a Joplin resident.
A sales tax is one option, along with toll roads and a gas tax – all ways to raise more money for infrastructure projects for the state Department of Transportation. Weeks of public hearings and meetings are now focusing on a potential gas tax hike.
“What was originally filed by Sen. Schatz was a ten and ten, ten on gasoline and ten on diesel which would bring it to 27 cents.,” says MO. Representative Bill Reiboldt.
Task force members plan to announce a specific plan on January 2nd, which could include putting more of the increase on diesel. They’ve discussed a range of six to ten cent increase for gasoline and seven to 12 cents for diesel.
It’s a proposal State Representative Bill Reiboldt says truckers support.
“They’re willing to pay more; the trucking industry just does not want Missouri to have toll roads,” says Bill Reiboldt.
Currently, at 17 cents per gallon, Reiboldt says even that wouldn’t match funding levels seen in recent years.
“This would actually bring us back to the buying power of 1996 by raising it a dime,” says Bill Reiboldt.
Depending on the amount of the actual increase, it could net anywhere from $250 to $410 million dollars a year for the Missouri Department of Transportation. But this isn’t a done deal. It must first be approved by the House and Senate.
If that’s okayed, it would then go to a statewide vote, though Missouri voters turned down a transportation sales tax question back in 2014.