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Missouri's current fuel tax rate is lower than any border states. However, its state-maintained highway system is larger than all of them.
Missouri's current fuel tax rate is lower than any border states. However, its state-maintained highway system is larger than all of them.

Fuel tax hike passed by Missouri legislature

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The state legislature gave the green light to a fuel tax increase, a move welcomed by business groups such as the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Missouri Farm Bureau.

With a 104-52 vote yesterday in the Missouri House of Representatives, Senate Bill 262 now heads to Gov. Mike Parson's desk, according to House.Mo.Gov. Parson has voiced support for the bill.

If signed by Parson, the bill would increase the fuel tax by 2.5 cents annually for the next four years, reaching 29.5 cents by 2025.

"This is a monumental achievement that will help ignite our state's economic recovery," state chamber President and CEO Dan Mehan said in a statement after the House vote. "Passage of this bill is a huge step toward ensuring that Missouri remains a leading transportation hub in the Midwest."

Missouri Farm Bureau President Garrett Hawkins said the bill would assist rural areas.

"This is great news for rural Missouri and the important farm-to-market roads that carry farm products, as well as the roads we all use every day to get our kids to school and to drive to work," he said in a statement.

The tax increase would generate more than $450 million per year for the Missouri Department of Transportation to address maintenance of roads and bridges, Springfield Business Journal previously reported.

An April study from North Carolina-based consulting firm Economic Leadership LLC found the fuel tax increase could lead to an economic impact of more than $1.8 billion statewide. The economic activity would result in an increase of $722 million in earnings across the state and create over 17,000 jobs, according to the report funded by the state chamber.

Missouri's road system has nearly 34,000 miles, the seventh largest in the nation. While the system is larger than any of Missouri's border states, the current tax rate of 17 cents per gallon is the lowest among those states, according to past reporting. State officials say Missouri’s tax ranks 49th nationwide and hasn’t increased since 1996.

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