A Missouri transportation task force that’s held meetings for seven months has unveiled its final report.
Missouri’s 21st century transportation system task force is recommending a ten-cent gasoline tax increase and a 12-cent diesel tax increase.
Missouri’s fuel tax hasn’t been increased since 1996.
State Rep. Kevin Corlew, R-Kansas City, who chairs the task force, says the purchasing power of the gas tax has decreased.
“The same purchasing power that 17 cents had in 1996 is now only eight cents,” Corlew says. “And so, just to keep up with inflation, we need an adjustment.”
The state’s gasoline and diesel taxes are both currently 17-cents a gallon.
Chairman Corlew says transportation is the biggest issue he’s heard about from citizens during the past decade.
“People want to make sure their kids can get to school safely, that people can make sure to get to their jobs on a timely basis and reliable transportation,” says Corlew. “That our manufacturers get their goods to the market, whether they’re in St. Louis or Kansas City.”
Corlew says ten-cent gasoline and 12-cent diesel tax increases would raise about $430 million annually. The state Department of Transportation (MoDOT) predicts the average Missouri driver would pay an extra $5 per month, under the task force recommendation.
If the Legislature approves the plan, Missourians would then have to approve the tax increases, in a 2018 statewide election.
The transportation task force submitted an 87-page report to the Legislature on Tuesday.
The report notes Missouri has the nation’s seventh-largest highway system, with about 34,000 miles of roadway.
The state Department of Transportation (MoDOT) says congestion in St. Louis and Kansas City and along Interstates 44 and 70 in Missouri is causing an annual economic loss of $575 million.
“The cost of congestion in Kansas City and St. Louis have increased every year since 2013 along with the volume of traffic. The economic cost to Missouri drivers from congestion averages $43 per month per driver,” the report reads.
The task force held ten meetings between June and December 2017. Seven were public hearings with testimony and three were work sessions.
Corlew held a press conference in Jefferson City on Tuesday to release the final recommendations to the Capitol Press Corps.
Corlew was joined by Missouri House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Reiboldt, R-Neosho, and State Reps. Nate Tate, R-St. Clair, Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, and Joe Runions, D-Grandview.
MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna, Missouri State Highway Patrol Colonel Sandra Karsten, Florissant Mayor Tom Schneider and other task force members also attended the press conference.