The Missouri Senate Transportation Committee Chair indicates he’ll file another bill in January to increase the tax on fuels.
State Sen. Doug Libla (R-Poplar Bluff) chairs the Missouri Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee. He describes his proposal as a use tax.
“You know you drive a little more, you pay a little more. If you drive a little less, you pay a little less. If you don’t have a car, if you’re a senior citizen, you still enjoy getting the use out of roads and your products and things you need, your food and your medicine and things like that,” Libla says.
Libla’s 2016 bill would have raised the motor fuel tax by 5.9 cents per gallon, from 17 cents to 22.9 cents per gallon. The Senate and a Missouri House Committee approved the bill this year, but House leaders did not bring it up for a vote.
Chairman Libla encourages residents to contact their state lawmakers about transportation.
“I think the citizens need to make sure that their representatives and senators here in the state and whoever the next Governor will be knows their feelings on it that we need to adjust our rate, which hasn’t been adjusted in 20 years,” Libla says.
Libla says the gasoline tax is how we’ve funded roads and bridges for 92 years. He says transportation is crucial for urban and rural residents, noting agriculture is Missouri’s top industry.
Libla also admits he is “not a big fan” of toll roads. He says even if voters approved toll roads, there are limitations on what could be improved.
“I-70 is the only interstate that we have that you could actually toll,” Libla says. “Now you could build a new road, but you cannot toll any of the existing interstates or any of the other existing U.S. highways.”
Missouri voters have rejected toll roads twice before: in 1970 and in 1992. Libla prefers what he describes as “pay as you go.”
Libla spoke to Missourinet Thursday morning at the Governor’s Ham Breakfast in Sedalia. Libla is finishing his first term in the Senate and is seeking re-election. He faces former Congressman Bill Burlison (D) in November.