OOIDA hopes to work with Missouri lawmaker on fuel tax
The most recent effort at the Missouri General Assembly to raise the state’s fuel tax is moving forward. The state’s 17-cent fuel tax rate has remained unchanged since 1994.
Missouri Department of Transportation officials have said there is an $825 million gap in annual road and bridge funding. Transportation officials say a dire situation to fund road and bridge work will only worsen until legislators get a deal done.
Despite the nearly unanimous viewpoint that more money is needed, nothing significant has been accomplished.
In 2018, voters rejected a question to raise Missouri’s 17-cent fuel tax by 10 cents over four years. The tax increase would have raised another $437 million annually.
Fuel tax increase efforts move forward
The Senate transportation committee voted to advance to the chamber floor legislation to initially raise nearly $130 million annually for state and local roads.
Missouri raised $717 million in fuel tax revenue during fiscal year 2019 – about $13 million less than the previous year.
A bill from Sen. Doug Libla, R-Popular Bluff, would increase the gas tax 2 cents, from 17 cents to 19 cents. SB539 would increase the diesel rate 6 cents, from 17 cents to 23 cents.
The tax rates would also be adjusted annually for inflation via the consumer price index.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association was among the groups to provide testimony at the Senate committee hearing on SB539.
The Association says a fuel tax increase would make the most sense to raise transportation revenue. Libla’s bill, however, is not a perfect bill.
“We hope to work with the sponsor on the (consumer price index) and addressing the differential in taxation between gasoline and diesel,” OOIDA consultant James Harris told lawmakers.
The truckers group added that the state must act now to make improvements to avoid massive expenses later.
“Better roads will help cut down on congestion, reduce wear-and-tear, and make highway freight even more efficient in Missouri, allowing our economy to continue to thrive,” Harris testified. LL