Fuel tax rate increase advances in Missouri

April 29, 2021

Keith Goble

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The state of Missouri could soon charge truckers and others more fuel tax at the pump.

The House Transportation Committee voted unanimously this week to advance a bill to raise the state’s 17-cent fuel tax rate for the first time since the mid-1990s. Senators approved SB262 in March.

According to a fiscal note attached to the bill, the tax applied to gas and diesel purchases raised $698.7 million in fiscal year 2020.

State officials report the state has from $8 billion to $10 billion in unfunded needs for the transportation system.

To counter the shortfall, the legislation sponsored by Senate President Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, would raise the fuel tax rate by 12.5 cents to 29.5 cents per gallon.

The increase would be phased in over five years. Starting Jan. 1, 2022, the tax would be increased by 2.5 cents each year until 2026.

Collecting the additional tax is estimated to raise $455 million annually.

Included in the bill is an option for Missouri residents to apply for an exemption and refund.

SB262 awaits consideration on the House floor. If approved there without changes, the bill would head to the governor’s desk.

Leaders back fuel tax effort

Gov. Mike Parson has indicated he supports raising the fuel tax. In 2018, he backed a failed fall referendum to raise the tax rate.

Earlier that year, a 23-member task force of state officials and private citizens released transportation funding recommendations to the General Assembly that included a fuel tax increase.

Supporters say an increase would provide badly needed funding for transportation work. They point out there has been no adjustment of fuel taxes for inflation for decades. Another point made is that additional funding is necessary for the repair of roads and bridges to ensure the states maximizes federal matching funds. LL

More Land Line coverage of news from Missouri.

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Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.