Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens said Thursday he is not in favor of raising the Missouri gas tax by 10 cents per gallon to increase funding for state transportation infrastructure and doesn’t want to see the question go before voters.
Instead he wants to focus on his budget and proposed tax cuts.
“What needs to be done this year is explained in our plan,” Greitens said. “We should focus on the tax plan first then in a few years the people should have their say.”
He added his recently submitted budget calls for an additional $163 million for roads and bridges and the establishment of a $25 million jobs and infrastructure fund.
The fund will be used as matching funds for local municipalities which have transportation projects that meet the criteria.
Additionally, the governor said he is hopeful movements at the federal level on transportation and infrastructure may send more road money to Missouri.
After traveling the state all summer, a special committee designed to produce suggestions to face the state’s transportation and infrastructure problems, came to a conclusion and increase in the gas tax would be the key in a three-part remedy.
State Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, was vice chairman of the joint committee of Missouri senators and representatives of which State Rep. Nathan Tate, R-St. Clair, was also a member.
Schatz is the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and Tate is a member of the House Transportation Committee.
According to the committee report it is clear from this ongoing statewide conversation that Missourians — and the Task Force — recognize that there is the need to invest more in the state transportation system in order to develop the modern, world-class transportation system that Missourians want and need.
The Task Force learned that long-term funding neglect and shortfalls have left the state with approximately $825 million worth of unfunded transportation priorities annually.
“The Task Force recommends increasing the state excise tax on gasoline by 10 cents and on diesel by 12 cents per gallon,” the report states. “This additional investment by highway users would raise approximately $430 million annually to improve our roads and bridges.
This would generate a total of approximately $4.3 billion over 10 years.”
After the report was released, Schatz filed a bill in the Senate to increase the rate of tax on motor fuel from $0.17/gallon to $0.27/gallon.
According to the Missouri Senate website, the last full action on the bill was Jan. 16 when it was referred to the Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety.