The state Senate is considering asking voters for a nearly six cents per gallon fuel tax increase. Senator Doug Libla (R-Poplar Bluff) says the additional revenue is needed to help build and maintain Missouri’s roads and bridges. He says the tax increase would bring in about $165 million.
“Good roads bring prosperity. Every dollar invested has been estimated to bring $4 in new economic activity,” said Libla. “As a matter of fact, for every $500 million invested in highways approximately 17,000 jobs are produced.”
Libla originally proposed a 1.5 cent increase for unleaded fuel and a 3.5 cent increase for diesel. He says he compromised by taking out the tax differential and asking voters to weigh in on the issue.
Senator Ed Emery (R-Lamar) doesn’t believe the issue would have the overwhelming support of the people.
“The Senator from Butler has raised the issue of increasing costs of highways, the increasing costs of asphalt, all these increasing costs. All the people who would be paying these taxes are paying increased costs,” said Emery.
Republican House Leadership opposes raising taxes to pay for roads and bridges. Other proposals to increase transportation funding are also being considered.
The Legislature couldn’t agree last year on a transportation funding bill, but many lawmakers agree that funding needs to be increased.
Missouri’s fuel tax is 17 cents per gallon – one of the lowest in the country.