JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A task force examining funding for Missouri’s transportation system will meet Wednesday at the Statehouse in Jefferson City.

State Rep. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, who serves on the task force, describes transportation as an important “backbone” of the state’s economy.

“Transportation is just huge in this state,” Razer says. “It’s huge on our roads, for our roads and bridges, for our rivers, our rail.”

Missouri’s 21st Century Transportation System task force meets Wednesday at 1 p.m.

They will not hear public testimony, but will provide an update on where the task force is at.

Representative Razer notes Missouri ranks 47th in the nation in revenue per mile. He tells Missourinet he hopes there’s enough support to get a gasoline tax increase on the statewide ballot in 2018.

“That is absolutely, in my view, the way we have to go in the short term. Whether there’s the political will to put that on the ballot is going to be another issue altogether,” says Razer.

The task force will submit its recommendations to the Legislature by January 1.

Missouri’s fuel tax hasn’t been increased since 1996.

The last increase was part of a bipartisan 1992 six-cent gas tax increase supported by then-Governor John Ashcroft (R) and then-House Speaker Bob Griffin, D-Cameron.

House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Reiboldt, R-Neosho, has said that a gas tax increase must be on the table.

“I still believe a gas tax and a diesel tax increase must be a part of the answer,” Reiboldt told Missourinet Tuesday evening.

Razer grew up in southeast Missouri and graduated from Cooter High School.

“We have to take care of it (transportation). We have lots of state assets that we have neglected over the last 15/20 years, and it’s time that we as a state start living up to our responsibility,” Razer says. “We were given these great gifts by our parents and our grandparents.”

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) says Missouri has the seventh-largest state highway system, with 33,884 miles of roadway.

(Brian Hauswirth, Missourinet)