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Missouri's Gas Tax To Rise In October After Governor Signs New Law

Over the past two decades, Missouri voters have turned down efforts to raise the state’s gasoline tax three times, including a 2018 referendum that failed by 53%.

But this week, despite the trio of past defeats, Republican Gov. Mike Parson is scheduled to sign a gas tax boost into law, arguing that the state’s road and bridge system is in dire need of repair.

During a recent press conference, Parson reminded reporters that he made infrastructure one of his top priorities when he took office in 2018.

“I’ve never changed that message since Day 1,” Parson said. “Early on in my administration, we recognized the need for additional funding for infrastructure projects in our state.”

Under the legislation, Missouri’s gas tax will rise for the first time in 25 years, providing an estimated $510 million for road and bridge repairs each year once it is fully implemented.

The bill raises Missouri’s 17-cent-a-gallon gas tax — among the lowest in the nation — by 2.5 cents a year, starting Oct. 1, until the tax hits 29.5 cents per gallon in July 2025.

The legislation includes a rebate process, where drivers could get a refund if they save their gas receipts and submit them to the state. The measure also would increase electric vehicle fees by 20% annually for five years, with fees varying by the size of the vehicles.

The new law also creates an “Electric Vehicle Task Force,” which will analyze and make recommendations regarding the impact of electric vehicle use on transportation funding by Dec. 31, 2022.

The added money comes at a time when the federal government also is primed to send more transportation dollars to the state, potentially resulting in a road building boom.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said last week his chamber may work into August to pass a bipartisan $1.2 billion infrastructure plan sought by President Joe Biden.

Parson said every dollar counts when it comes to the state’s road and bridge system.

“Transportation drives our economy,” Parson said. “We still have a long way to go to fix all the bridges in need of repair or replacement and address our backlog of unfunded needs. But by working together we can continue to steadily invest in infrastructure.”

He is scheduled to sign the legislation Tuesday at the Village Square Shopping Center parking lot in Hazelwood. The location is at the northwest corner of Lindbergh Boulevard and Interstate 270, where a $278 million upgrade is underway between James S. McDonnell Boulevard and Bellefontaine Road.

In addition to major projects like the I-270 work and the replacement of the Interstate 70 bridge over the Missouri River near Rocheport, the Missouri Department of Transportation is planning to spend $1.3 billion on the state’s smaller routes, known as lettered roads over the next three years.

Under the rebate system, motorists need to save their receipts for at least three years to substantiate their claims. Claims can be filed with the Missouri Department of Revenue, beginning next year, between July 1 and Sept. 30.

There is an effort underway to kill the tax increase.

In May, Americans For Prosperity-Missouri, a conservative tax policy group, filed a referendum petition with the Secretary of State’s Office seeking to put the tax hike before the voters in a November 2022 ballot measure.

To qualify for the ballot, the organization needs to collect 110,000 signatures.

But this week, despite the trio of past defeats, Republican Gov. Mike Parson is scheduled to sign a gas tax boost into law, arguing that the state’s road and bridge system is in dire need of repair.

During a recent press conference, Parson reminded reporters that he made infrastructure one of his top priorities when he took office in 2018.

“I’ve never changed that message since Day 1,” Parson said. “Early on in my administration, we recognized the need for additional funding for infrastructure projects in our state.”

Under the legislation, Missouri’s gas tax will rise for the first time in 25 years, providing an estimated $510 million for road and bridge repairs each year once it is fully implemented.

The bill raises Missouri’s 17-cent-a-gallon gas tax — among the lowest in the nation — by 2.5 cents a year, starting Oct. 1, until the tax hits 29.5 cents per gallon in July 2025.

The legislation includes a rebate process, where drivers could get a refund if they save their gas receipts and submit them to the state. The measure also would increase electric vehicle fees by 20% annually for five years, with fees varying by the size of the vehicles.

The new law also creates an “Electric Vehicle Task Force,” which will analyze and make recommendations regarding the impact of electric vehicle use on transportation funding by Dec. 31, 2022.

The added money comes at a time when the federal government also is primed to send more transportation dollars to the state, potentially resulting in a road building boom.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said last week his chamber may work into August to pass a bipartisan $1.2 billion infrastructure plan sought by President Joe Biden.

Parson said every dollar counts when it comes to the state’s road and bridge system.

“Transportation drives our economy,” Parson said. “We still have a long way to go to fix all the bridges in need of repair or replacement and address our backlog of unfunded needs. But by working together we can continue to steadily invest in infrastructure.”

He is scheduled to sign the legislation Tuesday at the Village Square Shopping Center parking lot in Hazelwood. The location is at the northwest corner of Lindbergh Boulevard and Interstate 270, where a $278 million upgrade is underway between James S. McDonnell Boulevard and Bellefontaine Road.

In addition to major projects like the I-270 work and the replacement of the Interstate 70 bridge over the Missouri River near Rocheport, the Missouri Department of Transportation is planning to spend $1.3 billion on the state’s smaller routes, known as lettered roads over the next three years.

Under the rebate system, motorists need to save their receipts for at least three years to substantiate their claims. Claims can be filed with the Missouri Department of Revenue, beginning next year, between July 1 and Sept. 30.

There is an effort underway to kill the tax increase.

In May, Americans For Prosperity-Missouri, a conservative tax policy group, filed a referendum petition with the Secretary of State’s Office seeking to put the tax hike before the voters in a November 2022 ballot measure.

To qualify for the ballot, the organization needs to collect 110,000 signatures.

Copyright 2021 KBIA