Twenty-nine organizations sign supporting a fuel tax increase to improve roads and bridges
Updated: Apr 15, 2021
Twenty-nine organizations from around the state have signed onto a letter supporting the passage of Senate Bill 262, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz. Senate Bill 262 is a transportation funding bill that would raise the state motor fuel tax and includes a refund mechanism for taxpayers who don’t want to pay the additional tax. The bill passed the Senate on a bipartisan 21-13 vote and will be heard in the House Transportation Committee next week. The letter, which includes chambers of commerce from several major communities, was delivered to every member of the Missouri House on Tuesday.
Missouri has an estimated annual transportation funding shortfall of $825 million. Several efforts to address the shortfall have been attempted in the past, but none has prevailed. Supporters are hopeful that Senate Bill 262 will succeed where other attempts have failed. “SB 262 is a unique outside-the-box approach to addressing a problem that has evaded a solution for too long,” said Jeff Glenn, Executive Director of Missourians for Transportation Investment. “This bipartisan bill will provide much-needed investment while also creating a refund mechanism for those who don’t want to fund better roads and bridges.”
The legislation is modeled after a similar bill passed in South Carolina in 2018. In addition to increasing the state motor fuel tax and providing a refund mechanism, Senate Bill 262 also increases registration fees for electric vehicles and establishes a task force to study the impact of electric vehicles on transportation funding. It also contains provisions that would streamline the process to claim fuel tax exemptions for off-highway use and enact lifetime bans from driving a commercial motor vehicle for those convicted of using commercial motor vehicles for human trafficking.
The letter’s cosigners represent a broad coalition of supporters from the transportation, agriculture, and business industries.
“Missouri businesses need safe roads in good repair for their employees, raw materials, and finished goods to move freely with as little delay as possible,” said Ray McCarty, President & CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri and Executive Director of the Missouri Transportation and Development Council. “Senate Bill 262 allows Missouri to improve our roads and bridges by increasing the fuel tax, and for those that cannot afford the modest tax increase, there is a refund mechanism.”
"It’s time for Missouri to address our funding problem and begin building for the future," said Morgan Mundell, President and CEO of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Missouri. "Missouri has taken a “kick-the-can” approach for two decades, and as a result we have an ANNUAL transportation funding shortfall of $825 million. Continuing the wait-and-see approach is only going to increase that funding deficit. Our funding shortfall won’t be resolved by a one-time infusion of federal dollars. We need a sustainable solution and we need to quit passing this debt on to future generations," he said.
Agriculture groups agree, “One of the things that places Missouri farmers above their global competition is our state’s transportation system. Unfortunately, we haven’t invested in the fuel tax since 1996,” said Ronnie Russell, President of the Missouri Soybean Association. “Senate Bill 262 would provide the kind of investment needed to keep our farmers competitive.”
“We’re proud to stand with these organizations that are leaders in their industries, their communities, and our state, as together we call on the General Assembly to address the state’s transportation funding problem,” said Glenn. “Senate Bill 262 provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take care of our transportation system, create jobs, and avoid passing our debts along to future generations.”
To view the letter, and access opportunities to demonstrate support for transportation funding, visit State Motor Fuel Tax | fundMOtransportation.com.