Missouri is closer than it’s been in years to finally passing a much-needed gasoline tax hike to boost its vastly underfunded highway program. Lawmakers need to push it across the finish line this week.
Backers of more funding are considering plans to increase the gas tax by up to 10 cents a gallon. Missouri’s fuel tax hasn’t budged since 1996. The state gasoline tax ranks among the lowest nationally for a highway system that ranks as the nation’s seventh-largest.
If lawmakers postpone an increase again, expect the price of repairs to shoot skyward as the rate of deterioration of state highways accelerates.
A 10-cent-a-gallon boost won’t come close to addressing all of the state’s roadway woes. In fact, the bump would generate about $400 million a year, a far cry from the $825 million a year that the Missouri Department of Transportation says it needs now to maintain the system.
More work to be done
The Missouri General Assembly has a number of other issues on its last-week to-do list. Lawmakers understand the stakes, and should be able to move quickly to address these lingering concerns: