Over the past five years, 26 states and the District of Columbia have raised new revenue to support their transportation systems. Last week, Missouri took a step closer to being state no. 27, when a 10-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase cleared the state legislature. The proposal now goes to the voters for approval on the November 6 ballot.
ASCE continues to advocate for legislation impacting civil engineering and infrastructure, and the Missouri gas tax increase is one that we’ve been working toward for a long time. Missouri Representative Kevin Corlew (R-Kansas City), invited ASCE’s Managing Director of Government Relations, Brian Pallasch, to testify to the 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force, which was exploring revenue options for the state’s transportation network. In his testimony, Brian emphasized the value of investment in transportation infrastructure and the need for states to raise their own revenue to better leverage federal dollars.
On January 1, the 21st Century Task Force chaired by Rep. Corlew, issued a series of recommendations regarding the state’s transportation system and the funding of the system. Among these recommendations was a directive to the legislature to increase the state excise tax on gasoline by 10 cents and on diesel by 12 cents per gallon.
To further the conversation and urge legislators to raise revenue for the transportation system, the Kansas City and St. Louis ASCE Sections released the 2018 Report Card for Missouri’s Infrastructure in April. Eleven categories of infrastructure – aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, energy, inland waterways, levees, ports, rail, roads, and stormwater/wastewater – earned a cumulative grade of a “C-.” The Report Card found that Missouri was at risk of losing out on matching federal funds due to dwindling spending power of the state gas tax. Roads in particular had already suffered from the lack of available revenue; the grade decreased from a C in 2013 to a D+ in 2018. Rep. Corlew spoke at the 2018 Report Card release, held on April 26 in the state capitol. Afterwards, ASCE members visited with their state legislators to share the grades and emphasize the recommendations to raise them.
On May 18, as the legislative clock wound down, the Missouri legislature approved a 10-cent per gallon gas tax increase. Per Missouri law, the user-fee increase will go before voters on the November 6 ballot. If you’re a Missouri resident, make sure you’re registered to vote so you can go to the polls in November to support the state’s transportation infrastructure. ASCE is looking forward to pushing this initiative across the finish line and further strengthening Missouri’s economy for the generation to come.
If you want to get involved in ASCE’s advocacy efforts, join the Key Contact Program. Similarly, if you’re curious about legislation in your state that stands to impact civil engineering and our infrastructure, be sure to visit ASCE’s state track page, especially as legislatures reconvene in early 2019.