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Missouri lawmakers are moving closer to approving more funding for Missouri's transportation system via an increased fuel tax.

The House Transportation Committee voted 13-0 to approve Senate Bill 262, legislation that would provide more than $500 million annually in additional funding for MoDOT to put toward roads and bridges.

The bill now goes to the full House. The Senate approved the measure in March.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, would work to address the state's $825 million annual transportation funding shortfall.

The bill would phase in an increase in the gas tax by 2.5 cents each year over five years, and it includes a rebate mechanism so drivers who do not wish to pay the increase can get their money back. The legislation also would allow drivers to save their gas receipts and apply for a refund once a year.

The legislation also phases in increased fees on electric vehicles.

A study released last week showed that passing Senate Bill 262 could create a $1.8 billion positive impact on Missouri's economy. This would also create an overall increase of $722 million in earnings across the state and more than 17,000 jobs.

The state has the second lowest fuel tax in the nation, at 17 cents per gallon, but has the seventh largest road system, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Missouri has not seen a rise in fuel tax since 1996.

Gov. Mike Parson and business and labor groups also support the proposed increase.

House Speaker Rob Vescovo, R- Arnold, has previously said he's against tax hikes. And it is unclear how quickly the proposal could come to a vote, with three weeks left in the session, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The work of the Missouri News Network is written by Missouri School of Journalism students and editors for publication by Missouri Press Association member newspapers. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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