In Missouri, we currently have the fourth lowest gas tax in the entire country, but MoDOT says that may not be a good thing.
That rate is 17 cents per gallon.
This tax initiative would bump us up by 10 cents per gallon, putting us at a tax rate of 27 cents per gallon — closer to the national average.
It would rise two-and-a-half-cents per year until 2022.
While our current tax rate on fuel is low, MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna says the need to repair roads and bridges is high, which is where much of that money would go.
“We manage 34,000 miles of road and 10,400 bridges. That is the 7th largest transportation system in the country,” McKenna says.
It’s been 22 years since the last fuel tax increase in Missouri. McKenna says it’s the bridges that concern him the most.
“We can have a slight decline in condition on the roadways — not preferable, but passable. When you get to the point where you have a poor conditioned bridge that needs to be closed you are really disconnecting communities,” says McKenna.
He says the need for bridge maintenance is getting more and more dire.
“We have about 2,000 bridges that are in need of repair. A lot of those bridges were built in the 1930’s, 50’s and 60’s and they are coming due or they are beyond that point, so that takes money.”
When those bridges are deemed a hazard, there is only one option.
“Once they get to a condition level that we believe is unsafe then we close the bridge. These are the types of questions that citizens and people need to weigh-in on,” says McKenna.
McKenna adds that in order to be transparent about how where funding is going, they lay all of that out on their “Citizens’ Guide” on their website.
Missourinet media partner KOLR-TV contributed this report