Gas tax question on November ballot

Missouri voters will decide whether to increase a state gas tax by 10 cents a gallon on Nov. 6.

The Missouri General Assembly recently passed a bill to place a ballot measure on the November general election.

The move allows voters to decide to green light a gas tax increase by 2 ½ cents each year for the next four years to get to a total 10 cent increase.

Funds raised by the tax would go toward road and bridge repair and the help fund the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Also part of the proposal is raising taxes on alternative fuels, including natural gas and propane.

The current tax is 17 cent per gallon, which hasn’t changed in the past 22 years. Missouri currently has the fourth lowest tax in the United States.

The national average, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, is 24 cents.

The tax could generate $288 million annually for the Missouri Highway Patrol and $123 million annually for local governments for road construction.

Local Rep. Kevin Corlew was part of the 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force, which recommended the tax to help cover shortfalls in transportation infrastructure funding.

Missouri has the seventh largest state highway system with more than 10,000 bridges and 34,000 miles of road.

MoDOT has reported it is short $825 million for high-priority needs.