Missouri’s Senate leader says there are currently $10 billion in unfunded transportation projects across the state. Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan) has been working on transportation funding for the entire 11 years he’s served in the Legislature, and his bill increasing Missouri’s gas tax is now on the governor’s desk.

Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan) observes as the House takes a final vote on Senate Bill 262 on May 11, 2021 in Jefferson City (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

“We’re about $800 million a year short of meeting the needs of our state transportation system. I do believe it’s one of the most critical things that we should be doing is investing in infrastructure such as transportation,” Pro Tem Schatz says.

Schatz’s Senate Bill 262 increases Missouri’s gasoline tax by 12.5 cents per gallon by 2025. While the bill’s language is currently being reviewed, Governor Mike Parson (R) told Missourinet in a recent interview that he expects to sign it, after his office reviews the bill’s language.

Schatz notes that no one testified against his bill at this year’s legislative hearings in Jefferson City. A coalition of business and labor groups testified for the bill, along with representatives from the trucking industry.

“Because I think that the consensus agreement is that we’ve got to invest in our roads and bridges, and currently we just haven’t been able to keep up with the current needs with inflation,” says Schatz, who is a former Missouri Senate and House Transportation Committee Chair.

Missouri’s 17-cent per gallon gasoline tax has remained the same since 1996. It was part of a 1992 agreement between then-Governor John Ashcroft (R) and then-House Speaker Bob Griffin (D-Cameron).

There are a few other key components of the bill from Schatz and House Transportation Committee Chair Becky Ruth (R-Festus).

The bill includes a refund provision, and motorists are required to keep gasoline receipts and records for three years.

The bill also includes CDL bans for human trafficking convictions. Anyone convicted of driving a commercial motor vehicle involving human trafficking would have a lifetime CDL ban.

SB 262 also establishes an electric vehicle task force, which will study and make recommendations to the Legislature regarding the impact of electric vehicle adoption on transportation funding.

Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s interview with Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan), which was recorded on June 4, 2021:

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