Missouri lawmakers fear looming infrastructure crisis | State News | columbiamissourian.com

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Missouri has one of the lowest fuel taxes in the country, said Rep. Bill Reiboldt, R-Neosho, who chairs the House’s Transportation Committee. Raising it by 10 cents, he said, would bring in an additional $430 million annually for transportation needs.

But lawmakers can only do so much, as the Hancock Amendment, passed in 1980, sets a limit to how much legislators can raise taxes each year. “Legislatively, our hands are tied,” he said. “All we can do is pass a bill that would put it to the vote of the people.”

Both the Senate and the House have bills this year that would put a gas tax hike on the ballot, but neither have referred the bills to committee — one of the first steps to turning a bill into law.

Other solutions have been proposed, including transferring $100 million from the general revenue to create an emergency bridge repair fund and creating a 4 cent sales tax that would go to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, which would free up funds that MoDOT currently provides to the department.

But Reiboldt said raising the gas tax is the simplest and most sustainable solution. However, since it’s a campaign year for legislators, he said, it’ll be very difficult to pass any kind of tax increase.

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