COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Missouri transportation investment bill, Senate Bill 262, is the first funding increase that Missouri is seriously considering since the 1990s according to Daniel Mehan, president of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.
"If you are rebuilding a mile of road, think about how much more that costs today versus 1995," said Mehan. He said the bill will also have a $1.8 billion positive impact on the economy and create more than 17,000 jobs annually.
On Friday, the Missouri House Rules Committee gave approval to the bill sending the bill to the floor for a final vote.
The bill will provide about $500 million in increased investments towards MoDOT for roads and bridges by increasing the gas tax by 2.5 cents every year for a five-year period.
Mehan said MoDOT is currently very underfunded that those companies who would do road and bridge construction are looking for work elsewhere.
The White House came out with assessments in April that gave Missouri a C- for infrastructure.
Mehan, is encouraged about this can boost economic recovery. The chamber and the Missouri AFL-CIO, released a study analyzing the economic impact of the proposed bill. The analysis points out the two major benefits of construction jobs and unfunded repairs.
Nick Chabarria with AAA said, "Damaged roads are not only a safety issue for drivers but can cost drivers big. AAA research found that the average repair cost from pothole damage can be around $300."
Chabarria said the average gas price in Missouri is $2.70 per gallon, which is up from $1.47 compared to the same time last year. This is still the sixth-lowest average in the country. The national average is currently at $2.95 up from $1.81 the year prior.
He said it is hard to compare these numbers to last year during the pandemic as the demand was so low for gas. Missouri saw a 15-year low price for gas last year and the statewide average was under $2 per gallon for about 300 days. The large increase in gas prices national wide can be attributed to the price increase of crude oil.
Missouri also has the second-lowest gas tax in the country just ahead of Alaska. Mehan said this increase would mean with the increase of 12.5 cents in five years, the state would be at the average gas tax of the surrounding states.
Missouri residents will be able to get a rebate on any fuel tax increase after this bill is put into law.
"For example, after the first year, we'll see a 2.5 cent increase on the fuel tax and those who choose to do so in the following year can go back with their gas receipts and get 2.5 cents per gallon back," said Chabarria.
The bill is set for its third reading on Monday.