(Brownfield’s Julie Harker contributed to this story)

The Missouri Senate leader is disappointed in the November defeat of a proposed ten-cent gasoline tax increase over four years. Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, campaigned for Proposition D, which was rejected by about 173,000 votes statewide.

Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan) speaks to Capitol reporters on February 21, 2019 (photo courtesy of Senate Communications)

“We have the seventh-largest transportation network in the country and we fund it at 48th. We cannot continue to see that,” Schatz told about 150 Missouri Farm Bureau members Wednesday in Jefferson City.

Pro Tem Schatz tells Missourinet his approximately $350 million bonding bill to repair or replace 250 bridges could go to the Senate floor this week.

Schatz’s bill has been approved by the Senate Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee. Schatz tells Missouri Farm Bureau members that the proposal is important for agriculture.

“Very important, very critical for farmers to be able to get their crops, to get their animals to the market and making sure that those bridges are safe and secure,” says Schatz.

Schatz credits Governor Mike Parson, a fellow Republican, for traveling to his district in eastern Missouri’s Franklin County to see one of the 250 bridges, adding that the need for investment in Missouri infrastructure is great.

If lawmakers approve the bill, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission would issue road bonds to fund the repairs.

Schatz also says another proposed gasoline tax increase should be considered by lawmakers in the future. He’s disappointed in Proposition D’s defeat.

“And I still think at some point we have to come back to those same voters and we have to address the issue,” Schatz says. “Because we are either going to have to raise the bridge or lower the water.”

The Missouri Farm Bureau, the state’s largest general farm organization, endorsed Proposition D, as did several commodity groups.

Missouri’s 17-cent gasoline tax has remained the same since 1996, and Missouri’s vehicle license and registration fees haven’t changed in more than 30 years.