The General Assembly will consider legislation in the session just underway for modest tax hikes for roads and bridges.
Legislation has been filed that would increase the gasoline tax by 2 cents and diesel taxes 6 cents per gallon without putting the proposal on the ballot. Other bills have been filed to increase the fuel tax. Voters in 2018 rejected an increase to the present 17-cent fuel tax.
Gov. Mike Parson, meanwhile, said he wants state lawmakers to consider funding for another year for a program that helped cities and counties repair roads and bridges. The program on infrastructure spending included $50 million in matching state funds for cities and counties that share the cost of improving their roads and bridges. The governor said in his State of the State speech this coming week he would announce a specific dollar amount.
House Speaker Elijah Haahr, a Republican, said lawmakers would wait until they heard the governor’s speech before commenting on continuing the cost-share program.
The governor announced in December that 20 projects will receive the $50 million in matching state funds, for a total of $131 million in upgrades to roads, bridges and intersections. The matching funds came from the state’s general revenue fund. The governor’s program was in response to voters rejecting an increase in the state’s 17-cent fuel tax.
The need to repair roads and bridges is so great that any help from the state is appreciated by cities and counties, but the day must come when the fuel tax is increased.