Missouri Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe told business leaders in Columbia on Tuesday that a proposed gasoline tax increase is receiving bipartisan support.

Missouri Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe addresses the Columbia Chamber of Commerce about Proposition D on October 16, 2018 (Brian Hauswirth photo)

Missourians will be casting ballots in November on Proposition D, which is a ten-cent gasoline tax increase.

Kehoe delivered a presentation to the Columbia Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, noting the measure has support from groups ranging from the Teamsters Union to the Missouri Chamber of Commerce. He says roads are not a Democratic or Republican issue.

“Trying to keep our roads safe and trying to make sure our bridges are intact for our school buses and families to drive over, that’s a non-partisan issue,” Kehoe says.

Governor Mike Parson, a Republican and U.S. Sens. Claire McCaskill, D, and Roy Blunt, R, are among leaders in both parties supporting Proposition D.

If approved, the tax increase would be phased in over four years, at 2.5 cents annually. Kehoe says Proposition D would mean more than $2 billion in new state funding for roads and bridges.

He says there’s a contractor in southwest Missouri’s Joplin who goes to Texas and Arkansas to work because there aren’t enough projects in the Show-Me State.

“The estimate is after full funding in ten years it puts about an additional 20,000 Missourians to work,” says Kehoe. “And those are the people you go to church with, those are the people you see in the grocery store.”

Missouri’s 17-cent gasoline tax has remained the same since 1996. Proposition D supporters say that because of inflation, the 17-cent gasoline tax is worth just seven cents of the value it had 22 years ago.

Proposition D would also establish an “emergency state freight bottleneck fund”. Columbia Chamber of Commerce President Matt McCormick notes the bottleneck fund would address locations like heavily-congested I-70 and Highway 63 in Columbia.

“It is a massive bottleneck in our community and it’s probably one of the worst, I would say it’s probably one of the worst on I-70 right now,” McCormick says.

Traffic is especially heavy on I-70 and Highway 63 during morning and afternoon rush-hour traffic and during Mizzou football Saturdays.

Kehoe tells the audience there’s also a major bottleneck at Interstates 70 and 64, near Wentzville.

Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) Director Patrick McKenna says Proposition D is crucial for Missouri, adding that MoDOT has about $8 billion in unfunded needs.

The Columbia Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Proposition D.

Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe, which was recorded on October 16, 2018 at the Drury Plaza Hotel Columbia East:

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