Possible tax hike could push sales tax above 10 percent to fund MoDOT


by KMOV.com Staff


Posted on November 18, 2013 at 5:43 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 18 at 7:14 PM

(KMOV.com) -- Residents may face a tax increase that could send the sales tax in some parts of the St. Louis area to more than 10 cents on a dollar.

Plans are in the works to ask voters in Missouri to approve a statewide one cent sales tax for transportation to offset MoDOT’s declining revenue.

The issue came up in the legislature earlier this year and it was shot down, but labor unions, the Farm Bureau and the Missouri Chamber of Commerce are backing the tax increase.   

But it’s a hefty increase and could be a hard sell.

The Delmar Loop and other parts of the metro already charge 9.5 cent sales tax on a dollar.

Higher taxes are hotly debated but the fact MoDOT’s revenue is dropping is not.

 “[There is a] significant decline in funding into our transportation system in Missouri, largely because of the decline in the amount of gas tax that we are receiving from federal and state taxes, ” said MoDOT’s Tom Blair.

Thanks to fuel efficient cars, MoDOT’s annual budget will drop from $1.3 billion in 2009 to just $425 million in 2019.

MoDOT just created a 20-year transportation plan after talking with residents across the state.

“They identified $70 billion in great transportation improvements to our system,” Blair said. “We have maybe $17 billion over that 20 years, the majority of that will be spent on taking care of what we have.”

The one cent sales tax would raise $8 billion over twenty years, create an estimated 270,000 jobs and pay for rebuilding Highway 170 between St. Louis and Kansas City.

“That tax revenue will be deployed statewide and everyone would benefit, it would create jobs and improve the state for generations,” said Missouri Chamber of Commerce President Dan Mehan.

MoDOT says without the tax or another new source of funding, projects like the Blanchette Bridge and the new Mississippi River Bridge will be the end of the big projects in St. Louis for decades.

Backers will be out with petitions after the holidays to get it on the ballot in November of 2014.

Click here to learn more about Missouri's transportation system