Transportation funding bill draws large crowd of supporters
April 22, 2021 - Last night, a large crowd of transportation funding supporters were on hand to testify in favor of a bill that would provide more than $500 million for transportation improvements annually when fully phased in. The Missouri House Transportation Committee, chaired by Rep. Becky Ruth, heard the bill. About 30 different groups were represented at the hearing.
SS#2 SCS SB 262, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, would increase motor fuel taxes by a total of 12.5 cents over a five-year period of 2.5 cent annual increases. Refunds of the increased motor fuel taxes would be available to operators of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 lbs. or less. The refunds would require fuel purchasers to obtain and maintain receipts of fuel purchased throughout the fiscal year (July through June) and would be available once per year between July 1 and September 30.
The bill also increases fees for alternative fuel decals by 20% per year for a period of 5 years (total 100% increase), except the fee for vehicles in excess of 36,000 pounds which is increased by 10% per year for a period of 5 years (total 50% increase). The fee for temporary decals is not modified.
The bill also establishes an "Electric Vehicle Task Force" within the Department of Revenue to analyze and make recommendations regarding the impact of electric vehicle adoption on transportation funding. The task force must deliver a written report to the General Assembly and the Governor no later than December 31, 2022.
"I am very pleased with this sustainable transportation funding package," said Rod Reid, Chairman of the Board of Missouri Transportation and Development Council. "With Missouri being the home of the population center of the United States we have an asset that we need to take care of. A well maintained and efficient transportation system is vital to manufacturing, farming, and tourism," he said.
"Associated Industries of Missouri fully supports the increased funding provided in the bill," said Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri. "Transportation is vital to Missouri employers and critical to manufacturers as we move raw materials, finished goods, and people to and from our places of business. It is not just about quality of the roads, but traffic congestion as well. Even minor traffic delays can cost manufacturers dearly. We know of one accident that tied up a major interstate and cost a Missouri manufacturer $1 million per hour! We must improve Missouri's transportation infrastructure that is vital to the state's economy," he said.
In addition to the transportation funding changes, the bill also increases from 10 to 20 years the recording of odometer readings to comply with changes in federal law, and includes a lifetime ban from the ability to obtain a commercial drivers' license (CDL) for persons convicted of using a commercial motor vehicle in felony human trafficking.
A vote on the bill has been scheduled for Monday, April 26, 2021.