One of the GOP leaders in the Missouri House is disappointed that voters rejected a ten-cent gasoline tax increase in November.
State Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer, who is the outgoing House Majority Caucus Chair, tells Missourinet talks are happening “behind the scenes.”
“I’ve been talking to some of the people in the (transportation) coalition about what is possible down the road,” Kolkmeyer says. “Some people want to wait, some people want to file something right away.”
Kolkmeyer supported Proposition D, saying it would have provided the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) with additional money, and would have provided the Missouri State Highway Patrol with a dedicated funding source.
Despite backing from Governor Mike Parson (R), Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe (R), the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and the Teamsters and other labor organizations, Proposition D failed by about 173,000 votes statewide on November 6.
Kolkmeyer, who served for 20 years as chief of the Wellington-Napoleon Fire Protection District in western Missouri, says MoDOT needs additional funding. He says a snow-related crash last week in Bates City highlights how many people drive Interstate 70.
“We had to transport crossways in the middle of I-70 and also blocking an on-ramp of I-70 at Bates City, the 31-mile marker,” says Kolkmeyer. “And traffic was backed up over five miles for that.”
Kolkmeyer notes MoDOT has dealt with several rare November snowstorms.
“MoDOT, they’re doing a great job getting our highways cleaned as fast as they can. In our area we had five inches of snow on top of a thick layer of ice,” Kolkmeyer says.
Missouri’s 17-cent gasoline tax has remained the same since 1996. Proposition D supporters say that because of inflation, Missouri’s 17-cent gasoline tax is worth just seven cents of the value it had 22 years ago.
Kolkmeyer, who represents Jackson, Johnson and Lafayette Counties, was re-elected to his fourth and final House term in November. He received about 69 percent of the vote to defeat Democratic challenger Connie Simmons.
While he will return to the House in January, Kolkmeyer will not be part of the House GOP leadership team in 2019. The new Majority Caucus Chair will be State Rep. Sonya Anderson, R-Springfield.
One southwest Missouri lawmaker who’s leaving office at the end of December because of term limits predicts Missouri lawmakers will tackle the transportation issue again in January.
State Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, told Missourinet the day after the November election that lawmakers will have to make a decision about additional funding for road repairs for MoDOT.
“Because the last thing we want to do is have to do a lot of work after an accident happens and a bridge collapses etc.,” Davis said on November 7. “So I think the Legislature this next year is going to do some good things for transportation in Missouri.”
One possibility is a proposal that House Speaker-designee Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, pushed in 2018. His bill would have indexed vehicle user fees to the cost of inflation.
Haahr testified before a House committee in March, saying that his plan to index those fees would generate about $174 million annually for the state’s road fund.
Haahr has noted that Missouri’s current vehicle license and registration fees haven’t changed in more than 30 years.
The 2019 legislative session will begin on Wednesday January 9 in Jefferson City.
Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and State Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer, R-Odessa, which was recorded on November 28, 2018 at the Statehouse in Jefferson City:
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