Springfield, MO

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Mo. lawmakers sponsor bills to raise gas tax

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Raising the tax on gasoline is among the major issues prefiled for the 2016 legislative session starting Jan. 6.
While some of the bills involve relatively modest increases, one would boost the gasoline tax by 7 cents per gallon — to 24 cents from 17 cents.
Sponsored by Rep. Margo McNeil, D-St. Louis County, the bill would put the issue before Missouri voters for final approval if it cleared the legislature.

"I think people deserve to have a voice in this process," McNeil said.
Other lawmakers have proposed more modest increases.
Rep. Keith English, a St. Louis County independent, filed a bill to increase the tax by 2 cents, calling it a "temporary fix" for the Missouri Department of Transportation’s road and bridge repair funding problems.
"I feel that if you want to pay for infrastructure like bridges and roads that the people who should pay for it are the people that are tearing it up," English said.
However, he acknowledged his proposed 2-cent increase would not be large enough to meet all of the transportation department's needs.
Each penny increase in the gasoline tax generates $39 million, with $28 million going to MoDOT and the rest to local municipalities, according to the department. The department has warned that is far short of the money needed to maintain the existing system.
In February, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission approved a plan to limit full maintenance and repair efforts to only 8,000 of the state's 32,000-mile road system.
The department reported it was $160 million short per year to provide full maintenance for the state's system — slightly less than what would be generated by a 6-cent gas tax increase.
In the last legislative session earlier this year, a 2-cent increase was defeated in the House Transportation Committee and a 1.5-cent increase failed to make it out of the Senate Budget Committee.


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