State Rep. Dave Hinson, R-St. Clair, said he thinks the Senate will pass a bill to allow the state’s residents to decide whether they want to impose a transportation sales tax on themselves.
But Hinson said he is unsure if the Senate would change the version of the bill already passed by the House. If that happened, it would have to go back to the House for another vote.
Hinson, who was the sponsor of the bill in the House, said it is possible that the Senate would bring up the bill this Tuesday or Wednesday for a vote.
The House passed a version of the bill that would allow the state’s residents to decide in the November general election whether they wanted to impose on themselves a 1-cent sales tax for transportation projects.
Under the House’s version of the bill, the tax would be in effect for a decade, and in that time it is estimated that it would generate about $8 billion, with 90 percent going to the state and the other 10 percent to cities and counties.
Hinson and State Rep. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, voted in favor of the bill in the House. State Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, opposed.
State Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, did not return a phone call from The Missourian seeking comment on his stance on the bill. Last year, he opposed the measure but recently said he may vote in favor of it this year. He said he voted against the bill last year after hearing from residents who are opposed to raising taxes.
Local officials have expressed support for the bill, saying a transportation sales tax could provide revenue to widen Highway 47 between Washington and St. Clair.
Officials say the Missouri Department of Transportation is facing a funding shortfall to maintain the state’s roads.
According to a MoDOT report, the agency had $1.3 billion in road and bridge funding in 2009 and $746 million in 2013. By 2018, it is estimated that MoDOT road and bridge funding will be $325 million unless additional revenue is located.
The funding reductions are due to the gas tax not being raised in 20 years, inflation and a loss of temporary funding, the MoDOT report states.