Missouri Transportation and Development Council supports sales tax for transportation
Speaking on behalf of the council, Ray McCarty told a House committee that a one cent sales tax increase proposed by Senate Joint Resolution 16 is more economically responsive than the current fuel tax, which is use based.
The resolution, which would require a public vote before taking effect, seeks to provide a funding source for upcoming road and bridge projects for the next ten years. The Missouri Department of Transportation has seen recent drastic cuts to its funding both from the federal government and from the collection of the state’s per gallon tax on gasoline.
“Because of the high cost of gasoline and the improving fuel efficiency of our automobiles, we are buying less fuel, providing less motor fuel tax revenues at the same time that costs are going up for MoDOT to provide road repairs and new roads,” said McCarty. “A sales tax would help fix that, because it is more economically responsive.”
MTD for several years has held meetings with stakeholders and citizens throughout the state, gauging sentiment for a road building strategy that includes increased revenues for MoDOT. Under SJR 16, the state’s sales tax would rise from 4.225 percent to 5.225 percent for a period of ten years. The increase would then expire unless renewed by another public vote.
“We’ve held meetings all over the state and understand the needs that are out there for transportation,” said McCarty. “And it’s nice to finally see people coalescing around one idea.”
The legislation passed through the House Transportation Committee with only one dissenting vote. It now faces a vote in the House Rules Committee before heading to the House floor for debate and possible final passage.