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Missouri Chamber fights attempt to overturn transportation funding measure

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The Missouri Chamber is fighting an effort to overturn 2021 legislation that was implemented to invest much-needed funds in statewide and local transportation projects.

This important new law is phasing in an increase in the gas tax by 2.5 cents each year over five years. The legislation also phases in increased fees on electric vehicles. It is expected to generate more than $77 million this fiscal year alone for critical infrastructure repairs and improvements.

But some state lawmakers want to backtrack on what was passed last year. One attempt to revoke this new law is being made by Rep. Sara Walsh, a Republican from Ashland. A House committee discussed her House Bill 1594 for several hours on Feb. 8.

The Missouri Chamber testified in strong opposition to repealing the law.

In 2021, we led a broad coalition of stakeholders who rallied in support of this transportation funding. The Missouri Can’t Wait campaign, spearheaded by the Missouri Chamber last year, united business and labor, rural and urban interests, and Republicans and Democrats — unusual partnerships demonstrating how dire the need is to fix our state’s crumbling roads and bridges.

Missouri has long had one of the lowest average gasoline taxes in the nation and it has been about 25 years since the state gasoline tax was increased. Additionally, Missouri has consistently ranked in the bottom half of states in terms of roads in poor condition and bridges that are deemed structurally insufficient.

Furthermore, an economic impact study found that modernizing our transportation system through this legislation means a $1.8 billion positive impact on Missouri’s economy. It is projected to create $722 million in additional earnings across the state and generate more than 17,000 jobs.

The legislation was also written to give Missouri drivers a choice.

Anyone who doesn’t want to see transportation improvements in Missouri can use the rebate provision and get their dollars back — this law costs them nothing. However, the Missouri Chamber believes that most drivers won’t mind paying a little more at the pump as an investment into better, safer roads and bridges to drive on.

For these reasons, the Missouri Chamber will continue to defend this important law against attempts to derail the improvement of our state’s transportation network. To learn more, contact Missouri Chamber Director of Legislative Affairs Ross Lien at rlien@mochamber.com or (573) 634-3511.

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