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Our Opinion: Nixing new gas tax would be a mistake

February 16, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

After years of lackluster transportation funding, Missouri is finally starting to get the funding it needs to maintain state roads and bridges.

That's due to last year's motor fuel tax increase that added 2.5 cents per gallon last October and will increase by that amount each year until it reaches 12.5 cents a gallon in 2025.

There's a legislative push this year to nix the tax. We believe that would be a mistake.

As we recently reported, House Bill 1594, sponsored by Rep. Sara Walsh, R-Ashland, would repeal the tax.

"Since last session, Missouri is in an entirely different situation," Walsh said. "Simply put, Missouri is sitting on record revenues to the tune of billions of dollars, that's a billion with a B. So why are we implementing this tax at this time?"

Walsh does make a good point, and it is tempting to drop the tax and put more money into the pockets of Missourians who have been hit hard by soaring inflation.

But the federal COVID-19 funding is temporary, and maintaining our state roads is a constant and permanent need.

MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna said the increase will let his agency alleviate a pressing turnover issue and keep up with safety standards, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The newspaper said he noted 1,720 projects, which he called the largest capital infrastructure investment in Missouri history, had been planned taking into account the gas tax increase funds.

Walsh's bill is one of several that would repeal the tax.

Like Walsh, we're not big on big government and high taxes. But in this case, it was an appropriate measure that was overdue for the upkeep of our roads/bridges.

We urge lawmakers to keep the fuel tax increase in place.

News Tribune

Print Headline: Nixing new gas tax 
would be a mistake


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