Senator Doug Libla (R-Poplar Bluff) says increasing Missouri’s fuel tax nearly 6-cents per gallon would help bridge the transportation funding gap. His original bill called for an increase of 1.5 cents for unleaded and 3.5-cents per gallon for diesel.

Senator Doug Libla (R-Poplar Bluff)

Senator Doug Libla (R-Poplar Bluff)

“The reason for that is every day we sit here and kick the can down the road, which we are really good at here in this building I’ve noticed,” said Libla. “When I got up here four years ago, we tried some other ways of raising more revenue for our highways and bridges. I’m really concerned that we are getting further and further behind, so I decided to escalate it somewhat.”

The Senate has given initial approval to his new proposal.

Opposition by some lawmakers led Libla to remove the tax differential and include asking voters to weigh in on the issue in November.

“We just have got to get to moving in this state. We have over 600 critical bridges and they are failing real rapidly. We are getting further and further behind,” said Libla. “We have a $50 billion investment in this state on highways and bridges that Missourians have already paid for. I believe everyone in this building as an elected official has a fiduciary duty to take care of the assets of Missourians.”

If the proposal gets to the House, it could face a roadblock. Republican leadership in that chamber opposes raising taxes to pay for roads and bridges.  Lawmakers agree that transportation funding must be increased, but they disagree on how to fund it.

Missouri’s fuel tax is 17 cents per gallon – one of the lowest in the country.