The Missouri House will tackle the transportation issue when members return from spring break next week.
Republicans control the Missouri House 115-47. There are two main House GOP proposals to provide funding for Missouri’s deteriorating roads and bridges.
House Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr’s tax legislation would index vehicle user fees to the cost of inflation.
Haahr, R-Springfield, notes the state’s current vehicle license and registration fees haven’t changed in more than 30 years.
Haahr testifies that change would generate about $174 million annually for the state’s road fund, and about $58 million annually for counties.
House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Reiboldt, R-Neosho, has a bill that would place a ten-cent gasoline tax increase before voters in November.
Missouri’s fuel tax hasn’t been increased since 1996. Supporters of the Reiboldt bill say ten-cent gasoline and 12-cent diesel tax increases would raise about $430 million annually.
Lawmakers left Jefferson City for their spring break on Thursday afternoon.
Before they left, House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, briefed the Capitol Press Corps, and Missourinet asked him about transportation and the two competing House GOP proposals.
Speaker Richardson says his chamber will discuss transportation funding after the break.
“Obviously I think the one thing that you do see that’s consistent within the (House Republican) caucus is a desire to have more funding for our transportation infrastructure,” Richardson says.
Missouri House and Senate members return to Jefferson City on March 26.
“We’ll continue to have the discussions about the different ways that we can achieve that (transportation funding), and I’m hopeful that by the end of the session we’ll have settled on a solution,” says Richardson.
The Haahr bill, which is a 429-page bill that involves tax reform, has been approved by the House Ways and Means committee on a 6-3 party-line vote.
The three Democrats who voted no have concerns about an unrelated provision involving the “circuit breaker” senior citizen property tax credit for renters.
Haahr’s bill is expected to hit the House floor after the spring break.
The House Transportation Committee held a hearing on Reiboldt’s bill on Wednesday. The committee hasn’t voted on the bill yet.
Missouri’s 21st century transportation system task force is recommending a ten-cent gasoline tax increase and a 12-cent diesel tax increase.
The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has testified that the average Missouri driver would pay an extra $5 per month, under that task force recommendation.
Reiboldt notes the state’s gas tax has been at 17-cents-a-gallon since 1996.