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Transportation funding needed: Missouri Senate begins talks on a solution

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As the state with the seventh largest transportation system — yet funding that ranks 45th in the nation — Missouri’s infrastructure is in dire need of investment. Missouri lawmakers are poised to consider a solution to this problem as an innovative funding proposal is now primed to be considered in the Missouri Senate.

The Senate Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety has passed a bill that would raise the state’s fuel tax so that Missouri can begin to address $825 million in annual unfunded high-priority transportation needs. Senate Bill 262 by Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz would gradually phase in the fuel tax increase. Two-and-a-half cents per year would be added to Missouri’s current 17-cent-per-gallon tax (one of the lowest in the nation) until the tax reaches 32 cents per gallon after six years. The legislation includes an innovative program that would allow motorists to choose to avoid paying the tax increase by applying for a rebate.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports this legislation. The Missouri Chamber has long been a champion of investing in our state’s transportation infrastructure to help grow our economy and create jobs.

Daniel P. Mehan, President and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“Missouri can no longer wait for action on our crumbling transportation infrastructure. We need a solution — recognizing that our state’s transportation infrastructure is critical to our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The best thing Missouri can do to bolster our economic recovery is to invest in our infrastructure,” said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “There is a huge cost to failing to act. Our vital economic connections are currently languishing and deteriorating. The result is a road system that creates excessive congestion, wears down vehicles prematurely and lacks modern accident prevention features — leading to $8 billion in annual hidden costs and putting Missourians’ lives at risk each day. We must address this problem in 2021. The Missouri Chamber would like to thank Sen. Schatz for filing this legislation and continuing to champion this issue. We urge the General Assembly to make transportation funding a priority this year and pass Senate Bill 262.”

In October, the Missouri Chamber released a report called Transportation2030: Making Missouri a Leading Logistics Hub. The report highlights Missouri’s logistics advantages that will be lost if policy makers continue to ignore the need for investment.

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