JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOV.com) - A new proposal to increase the gas tax in Missouri was heard by a state senate committee this week.
Senate Bill 539 would hike the tax by 2 cents a gallon, despite voters rejecting a similar increase, called Prop D, in 2018. Republican Senator Doug Libla, of Poplar Bluff, is the sponsor.
"We were voted by our constituents to come up and make decisions, and we have a fiduciary responsibility to take care of the assets of Missourians," said Libla.
Libla is chairman of the Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety committee. He said some of the costs to repair and resurface roads have more than tripled since the last time the gas tax was increased in 1996.
But, he said the revenue from the tax has decreased by $200 million a year due to more fuel efficient vehicles.
"It's not a Democrat or Republican issue. It's a safety of our family issue. It's economic development. It's being able to get to our jobs," said Libla.
Missouri’s gas tax is 17 cents a gallon, last year Illinois increased it’s tax to 38 cents a gallon. Libla said the average gas tax for states in the Midwest is 30 cents a gallon. Alaska has the lowest tax at 14 cents and Pennsylvania has the highest with a gas tax of 58 cents a gallon.
News 4 spoke with drivers such as Alex Alcorn who would be okay with a small increase in the prices of gas, "Probably so, yes I would."
But others, like Wendell Basquine, don’t want to see their costs go up, "I think we're already getting taxed enough.”
The increase could generate $200 million more a year in revenue for MoDOT road and bridge projects. But Libla said it would only cost the average driver less than a dollar month.