Basic road maintenance bill passes Senate committee

A partial fix to Missouri’s looming transportation funding shortfall has unanimously passed a Missouri Senate committee.

The Senate Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety voted 5-0 in favor of Sen. Doug Libla’s Senate Bill 540. The proposal would increase the state’s fuel tax from 17.3 cents per gallon to 23.3 cents per gallon over three years, then annually raise the fuel tax for inflation.

Sen. Libla and other transportation committee members have acknowledged that the bill only addresses one part of Missouri’s upcoming transportation funding crisis—the need to maintain the state’s existing infrastructure. The increased fuel tax would not provide the funding to make needed investments and improvements to the state’s transportation system.

Without legislative action, Missouri’s transportation budget will shrink to $325 million in 2017—which includes the loss of hundreds of millions of federal matching funds. The proposed 2017 budget would allow the state to keep less than a quarter of its 34,000 miles of roads in good condition. The majority of the system would see only basic maintenance and face deteriorating conditions.

Sen. Libla’s bill still faces several hurdles to passage, the next being debate on the Senate floor.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry testified in support of Sen. Libla’s bill, with reservations over the proposal to increase the fuel tax each year for inflation.

The Missouri Chamber’s Missouri 2030 plan identifies the quality of Missouri’s infrastructure as an important factor that will help drive future economic growth. The Missouri 2030 plan calls for urgency in developing a true solution to fund improvements our transportation system.

For more information about transportation funding, contact Brian Bunten, Missouri Chamber general counsel and director of governmental affairs at bbunten@mochamber.com or by phone at 573-634-3511.

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About mochamber

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry understands that the quality of life in our state depends on quality jobs for Missourians. To that end, we have one simple mission: to protect and advance Missouri business.

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