Missouri residents will soon vote on whether to increase the current tax rate on gasoline by 10 cents per gallon.
The increase will go toward improving roads and bridges in the state as well as law enforcement, specifically Missouri State Highway Patrol. Research projects it will generate at least $288 million annually to the State Road Fund to provide more funding for law enforcement and $123 million annually to provide for road and bridge construction.
The gas tax is currently 17 cents per gallon, and if voters pass Proposition D on Nov. 6, the gas tax will increase by another 10 cents per gallon over four years, increasing 2.5 cents each year.
The amendment will also increase tax on diesel fuel, kerosene and blended fuel.
Missouri fuel tax is the second lowest in the country and seventh largest transportation network.
Scott Charton, a spokesman for the SaferMO.com campaign promoting the ballot measure, said during a news conference Wednesday that the increase is vital for Missouri. He said the money brought in by the tax will help the state catch up to inflation as road construction material costs rise.
Rep. Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove) and Ron Calzone, an activist from Dixon, said the bill was unconstitutional, arguing that it violate Article 3 of the state constitution in August.
Calzone said the bill originally acted as a gas deduction for Olympic athletes.
“The reason representative Mike Moon and myself challenged House Bill 1460 was not so much because we thought it was a bad idea to have a tax, it was because the bill was passed using unconstitutional procedures,” Calzone said.
However, the House voted to keep the petition on the ballot. Calzone and Moon lost their court challenge last month when an appeals court judge dismissed their lawsuit.
Calzone said within the next few years, the Department of Transportation is going to retire multiple bonds that they are currently making payments on.
“Even if the roads need money now, if if there’s no other place we can get that money now, we will have that money in 2027.”
Calzone suggested putting a sunset on the petition and increasing tax for only the next eight years, when the money is needed.