CAPITOL REPORT: REPRESENTATIVE PATRICIA PIKE
Dear Citizens: On October 1, Missouri’s gas tax will increase for the first time in 25 years, but Missourians who don’t want to pay the increase have an option.
The tax will increase by 2.5 cents October first, with more incremental increases every July 1 until it reaches a total increase of 12.5 cents in 2025. The Department of Transportation estimates the increase, when fully implemented, will generate another $460 million annually for the state’s roads and bridges. This includes state lettered and numbered highways and gravel road infrastructure.
Those who don’t want to pay the increase will be able to apply for a refund. The Department of Revenue will provide a form for applicants to fill out. A final version is expected to be available, either digitally or by paper copy, by the time applications can be accepted between July 1 and September 30 of next year.
Fuel purchased in Missouri for vehicles weighing less than 26,000 pounds is eligible for a refund. The House Transportation Committee Chairwoman and House handler of the bill said Missourians who want a refund will, “need to save [fuel] receipts in case they are audited, and there is a form that the Department of Revenue is providing for them to fill out.”
She said she’s not concerned that letting people get back some of their tax dollars will hurt the overall goal, which is to give the Department of Transportation more funding to maintain the state’s roads and bridges.
“I think this is a very fair provision. If people are happy with the job that’s being done and they want to continue to invest in the roads and bridges, then they will leave their money there. If they feel like they need to have that money back; they don’t think it’s fair, they need it for whatever reason, or maybe they’re just not happy with how the money is being spent or they don’t feel like MODOT’s doing a good job, they can request a refund of that new tax,” she said.
The initial increase, which begins October 1, has been estimated at about $1 a month for the average Missouri driver. Once it’s fully phased in the increase will be approximately $60 per year, depending on how much fuel each driver consumes.
The House Transportation Committee Chairwoman said the department has been running about $800 million behind what it needs for road work, per year. The increase will cover a significant portion of that gap, and will also put Missouri in position to draw federal dollars from an anticipated infrastructure bill.
She said, “That federal infrastructure bill is an 80/20 match. Otherwise we would not be in a position to have the match money to pull down those federal dollars … we’re talking about billions. Roughly, Missouri is looking around $7 billion. If we did not have this money to pull down that match, that money would end up going to other states.”
She added, “I just look forward to seeing Missouri rise in terms of where we’re at in road funding: having safer roads to travel on, roads that are in better condition. Our investment in our infrastructure also helps to drive the economy and bring in new business.”
The gas tax increase became law when Governor Mike Parson signed Senate Bill 262, which passed out of the House with a final vote of 104-52.
Contact Representative Patricia Pike at [email protected] or call 573-751-5388.